was born in Vienna in 1767. If he is known at all it’s
probably in connection with Beethoven, who commissioned
the slightly older Pössinger to transcribe Beethoven’s
Fourth Piano Concerto for piano and string quintet in 1807. By
this time Pössinger was forty and a long time member of
the city’s court orchestra. He’d earlier studied composition
with Johann Georg Albrechtsberger and managed to combine
long-serving orchestral duties as a violinist with original
works as a composer. Nevertheless posterity will remember
him most for his Beethovenian transcription and also for
his arrangements of well-known works; he apparently transcribed
Rossini operas in their entirety for flute and string trio.
This might seem unrewarding
hack work but the time was right for domestic music-making
and Pössinger had a leaning toward chamber forces. The
three works here reinforce the point – string trios of
modest ambition but elegantly crafted and in supple performances,
albeit with some intrusive sniffs along the way.
D major Trio concertante – both Op.36 are cast in three
movements – is an amiable and attractive work without a
huge sense of individuality. Despite his association with
Beethoven the D major sounds more Mozartian, with a touch
of gallantry about it. There’s a Hausmusik feel all round,
not least in the disarming elegance of the slow movement
and in the avuncular Rondo all’Ecossaises. Its E flat major
companion shares Pössinger’s inclination for a rather over-long
first movement though the Larghetto here is rather more
penetrating and effective than is the case with the D major.
The finale sports some good contrastive material and a
convincing slower section.
in Trio concertante is a bigger, and earlier, work written
in four movements. Here one feels rather more directly
the influence of Beethoven. The turn of phrase is decidedly
sterner than the altogether more gentlemanly Op.36 Trios
and the aesthetic is actually more bracingly up-to-date
as well. There’s a vigorous minuet and an oddly titled Romanze
Andante, which turns out to be rather more of the former
than the latter.
the playing is neat and tidy – no big soloistic personalities
here to overbalance things – and the recording similarly.
Sylvie Kraus is the violinist, Christian Gosses the violist
and Werner Matzke the cellist. The notes are rather skimpy
and the works aren’t dated, if indeed their dates can be
confirmed. Biedermeier chamber music, then, and of gentle
Gerard Hoffnung CDs
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