Four Fantasy Pieces for Cello & Piano
"Stöhr's chamber music has both classical and romantic elements...his skill and highly developed gift of combination achieves impressive artistic effects, such as only a true master can produce."---The critic Rudolf Felber writing in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music.
The Four Phantasy Pieces date from 1913. Stöhr intended them to be treated as a suite and the word Suite appeared in the original edition. The genre of Fantasy Pieces (Phantasiestücke in German) was more or less pioneered by Robert Schumann in the 1830's. These were generally a set of shorter pieces meant to be performed together. Each, colorful and with a different mood or character. Stöhr’s Four Fantasy Pieces, which are not particularly short, for Cello and Piano, Op.17 are among the very best of such works and would make an excellent recital choice in place of a sonata.
Richard Stöhr (1874-1967) was born in Vienna. His father insisted that he study medicine and Stöhr only formally studied music after receiving an M.D. He entered the Vienna Academy of Music and studied composition with Robert Fuchs receiving a doctorate in 1903. He immediately obtained a teaching position at the Academy and was appointed a professor of composition in 1915, a position he held until 1938. Although Stöhr steadily composed throughout these years, he was better known as an expert on music theory, having written a well received text on the subject. In 1938, he was forced to flee Austria because of the Nazi takeover. He emigrated to the United States. There, he obtained a similar position at the Curtiss Institute of Music. Among his many students were Leonard Bernstein, Erich Leinsdorf, Herbert von Karajan, Erich Zeisl, and Samuel Barber.