String Trio in g minor, Op.6
Leó Weiner (1885-1960) was born in Budapest and began by studying the piano as a youngster. In 1901 he entered the Budapest Academy of Music and studied composition with Hans Koessler. His rise was meteoric and he was widely regarded as a "wunderkind", winning virtually all of the important Hungarian and Austrian competitions between 1903 and 1908. Critics dubbed him the "Hungarian Mendelssohn." Weiner was essentially a Romantic composer and his compositions, though certainly featuring modern touches, never ventured into either polytonalism or atonalism. As these trends pioneered by Stravinsky, Bartok and Schonberg began to come into vogue, Weiner's reputation and that of his music slowly receded, as did the music of other contemporary composers who remained faithful to traditional tonality.
The String Trio dates from 1908 and was almost immediately regarded as a masterpiece. The famed chamber music scholar and critic Wilhelm Altmann has this to say about it in his Handbuch für Streichquartettspieler:
Weiner's String Trio is composed in a clear and logical fashion, avoiding the pitfalls of diffuseness. It sounds good and is full of captivating melodies. The first movement, Allegro con brio, is attractive throughout. The rhythmically interesting Vivace (a scherzo) which follows is both very lively and gay, while the middle section features exotic harmonies. The third movement, Andantino, is a theme and excellent set of variations. The exciting finale, Allegro con fuoco, is a mix of elan and gaiety. This trio, which presents no special technical difficulties, should be treasured by amateurs and belongs in the concert hall."
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