Julius Röntgen

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 String Trio No.7 in G Major

Julius Röntgen's String Trio No.7 in G Major was composed in 1920. It came about as the result of an arrangement he made his the people from whom he rented a house for his summer holidays. From 1920 on, he and his family summered on the Dutch island of Schiermoonikoog. He became fast friends with his landlord who said he could live in the house rent free if he and his family would give frequent concerts for the locals. Röntgen agreed and this trio as well as two others were composed for these concerts. It is in four movements and opens with a genial Allegro piacevoie, relaxed and even a little delicate. It has the air of a folk dance. Next comes a lively scherzo, Poco allegro e leggiero. It begins with an almost oriental sounding subject which is created by the rhythm and the wailing tune enunciated in the viola. Next comes a slow movement, Poco adagio e sostenuto, filled with lovely long-lined melodies which are passed from voice to voice. The finale, Allegretto con grazia, is a jovial affair, energetic and full of good spirits.


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. We were fortunate enough to be able to make copies of several of these trios which we are hoping to bring out.


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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