Julius Röntgen

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 String Trio No.3 in e minor

World Premiere Edition

Julius Röntgen's String Trio No.3 in e minor was completed in 1919. For a long time, it was thought that Röntgen had only composed one string trio, his Op.76 in D Major which appeared in 1924. But it turns out that Röntgen, a highly prolific composer, wrote string trios throughout a good part of his life, and especially toward the end of it. There are at least 16 that are known of and perhaps more yet to be discovered. In the Netherlands Music Institute located in the Hague, there is a treasure trove of manuscripts by Röntgen, among them several string trios. Our edition has been carefully and faithfully edited by senior editors Lloyd Celzo and R.H.R. Silvertrust from the composer's manuscript.


Each summer, Röntgen and his family would vacation in idyllic settings near the Dutch town of Bergen by the North Sea. It was there he went to escape his duties as a professor of music and conductor. And it was there, he found relaxation by composing chamber music, which he and his family would play together during the their evenings. Only four days separate Trio Nos.3 and 4, yet they are very different work from each other. No.3 is more serious and more formal in structure, while No.4, bearing the name Waltz Suite is light and elegant. No.3 begins almost like a scherzo but soon devolves into a calmer and more lyrical mood. The second movement, in contrast, is quite energetic, almost frenetic. The middle part resembles a rustic dance. The third movement is subtitled Een Rondedans om de bruid naar bed te dausan. (A round dance which brings the bride to her bed). This was an old Dutch wedding tradition. The music resembles a lullaby, entirely appropriate since the bride is heading to bed. The trio concludes with a graceful Allegretto.


Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) was born in the German city of Leipzig. His father was a violinist and his mother a pianist. He showed musical talent at an early age and was taken to the famed pianist and composer, Carl Reinecke, the director of the Gewandhaus orchestra. Subsequently he studied piano in Munich with Franz Lachner, one of Schubert's closest friends. After a brief stint as a concert pianist, Röntgen moved to Amsterdam and taught piano there, helping to found the Amsterdam Conservatory and the subsequently world famous  Concertgebouw Orchestra. He composed throughout his life and especially during his last 10 years after he retired. Though he wrote in most genres, chamber music was his most important area.


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