This small German label seems to be concentrating on presenting the works of Liechtenstein’s musical son Rheinberger. They have issued four standard CDs of his choral music, and this is the first of some of his works for one or two stringed instruments plus pipe organ. Other labels have covered much of Rheinberger’s solo organ music. His music was definitely in the Romantic period, but – not known for innovation – was rather conservative, avoiding the trends of the period.
The first of the three works dates from 1889 and is in four movements, ending with a perpetual movement. The Drei Stücke are selected from an Op. 150 set of six for violin and organ, but here transcribed for cello and organ.
The two suites for a solo string plus pipe organ and nice enough, but with the concluding Op. 149 for organ, violin and cello, things come live on the grander scale of this 37-minute work. Its four movements follow the style of the typical piano trio of the period. When composed in 1887, Rheinberger had discovered a need in the music market for works for one or two solo instruments combined with the varied instrumental colors the pipe organ could produce. The longest movement is the third, a Sarabande in C minor. The Finale of the work will remind one of Bach’s music for organ.
Recording in a cathedral in the Black Forest, Carus has captured a quite reverberant acoustic yet one which doesn’t obscure the solo strings. Performances are on the highest level.
– John Sunier