Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843–1900) isn’t exactly a household name, nor are these trios familiar territory for many listeners. I found them to be nice music in the Brahmsian mold, well written and attractive in both mood and expression, just not quite as good as Brahms or as original as the music of Josef Rheinberger. Herzogenberg was by no means an untalented composer; I’d much rather hear these works than a great many by more famousRead more composers that lack their sparkle or charm. And sparkle and charm they most certainly have; though none of the themes are particularly memorable, all are well crafted and developed with fine attention to melodic and rhythmic variance. There are quite a few surprises along the way, too, such as the sprightly 6/8 dance in the midst of the opening Allegro of the first trio. As an original review of the first trio put it, “The main themes . . . do not exactly come forward with compelling force but immediately gain favor, are finely invented and warmly felt, and are conveyed more delightfully to us by an extremely skillful and frequently very appealing elaboration.” That, to me, is a perfect description of that trio, in fact of both trios on this CD.
I personally felt that Herzogenberg’s weakness came in the Andante movements, well made but somewhat old-fashioned, almost Schubertian in language but not as emotionally convincing. The ATOS Trio does a very fine job with them, however, so if you’re looking for rousing good German piano trios to puzzle your friends over in a game of “guess the composer,” these will provide ample surprises indeed. There do not appear to be any other recordings of these works available. Recommended highly for performance and sound quality, which are clean and natural, with the slight reservations noted above for the music itself.
Magnificent In Every Respect!March 23, 2013By Henry S. (Springfield, VA)See All My Reviews"I have listened to and commented on a large number of CPO disks over the past year or so, and in almost every case the evaluations have been strongly positive. CPO seems to a a label that rarely releases a mediocre or substandard performance. Yes, I admit to the possibility of having gone overboard in my enthusiasm for CPO's efforts.. but with regard to this disk of piano trios by Austrian composer Heinrich von Herzogenberg, it would be very difficult indeed to 'exaggerate the positive.' Perhaps the best informal comment I can make on this recording is something like this: 'Wow! This is sensational, gorgeous chamber music delivered in a supremely intelligence performance.' Herzogenberg's compositonal style is closely akin to the Neo-Classicism of his contemporary Johannes Brahms, and indeed one might think he were hearing Brahms at his finest if he didn't know the composer in question- the recording is that good! Rigorously structured and classically styled movements, dense instrumental textures, powerful and aggressive assertiveness juxtaposed against passages of delicate, exquisite emotional introspection- these are the obvious qualities found in these two stunning piano trios. Germany's ATOS Trio plays with passion, commitment, and integrity throughout, and of course CPO's audio engineering is perfect (balance, dynamics, etc.) For those who favor really serious chamber music, this elegant CPO recording is essential. Highest recommendations!"Report Abuse