Reinecke: Trio Op. 188; Herzogenberg: Trio Op. 61; Bowen: Ballade Op. 133

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Things aren’t quite as they seem. Each of these three works was originally written for oboe, horn and piano but has been arranged for trumpet, trombone and piano. It’s not immediately clear to me by whom these arrangements were made, or maybe it was a collaborative effort, but this is in any case such an unusual combination that it might be thought a shame to dilute it in this way. Still, what is denied here to the oboe and horn is gifted to the two brass instruments that share a comparable compass.

Carl Reinecke’s Trio was composed in 1886. He hits on a delightful theme for the opening Allegro moderato, one so delightful in fact that he keeps repeating it again and again. This robust, rather old school writing is not without drama – note the vigorous trumpet-led accelerandi – and has genial charm in the Scherzo, too. The romantic warmth of the cavatina-like Adagio is properly conveyed by Michael Massong’s trombone, in particular – an instrument that lends plangent warmth to the proceedings – and there are hints of wit in the light and spirited Rondo finale.

Written on the same conventionally-structured four movement lines, Heinrich von Herzogenberg’s Trio was dedicated to an old friend, Gustav Hinke, oboist of the Leipzig Gewandhaus orchestra. Though it also reveals a comparable technical assurance to Reinecke’s work, it sports rather more in the way of bucolic humour. Thematically things are democratically parcelled out and in the hunting brio of the Scherzo, suitably stabbing accents add some vivid drama to the proceedings. The two brass players convince here – they’re in their metier, in fact – but they are also alert to the balladic potential of the slow movement whether singly or in unison. Friederich Höricke provides immaculate support here to Massong and trumpeter Andre Schoch, as indeed he does in the fanfare-dotted exuberance of the finale, with its somewhat Brahmsian close. Herzogenberg’s wife, Elizabeth, incidentally, was the dedicatee of Brahms’s Op.78 Rhapsodies.

Very much the odd man out, compositionally, is York Bowen. His late-Romantic and, pianistically, frankly Rachmaninovian elements are on show in this compact Ballade, Op.133. It was published in 1956 though assumed to have been written some years before, possibly in 1949. Bowen ensure that phrases overlap, which generates a real sense of urgency and the music flows through textures, moods, and tempi towards a quiet, reflective close. This is a fine performance, though doubtless Bowen enthusiasts would rather hear the real deal.

If you want the original instrumentation of the two German works turn to the luxury casting of Tuckwell, Goritzki and Requejo on Claves CD-50 0803.

Jonathan Woolf, MusicWeb International

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 6031912-2

  • UPC: 760623191225

  • Label: MDG

  • Composer: Carl Reinecke, Heinrich Herzogenberg, York Bowen

  • Performer: Andre Schoch, Friedrich Horicke, Michael Massong