Kahn: Piano Quartet No. 2 & Serenade For String Trio

Photo: Kahn: Piano Quartet No. 2 & Serenade For String Trio

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Robert Kahn Serenade In A Minor,
Lieder (7) Op. 46,
Piano Quartet In A Minor Op. 30.


Hohenstaufen Ensemble.

Johannes Brahms esteemed the composer Robert Kahn (born in 1865 in Mannheim) very much, an admiration that was affirmed when he met Brahms in 1886. Kahn studied under Friedrich Kiel in Berlin and with Josef Rheinberger in Munich and lived as a composer in Berlin. In 1894 he became a lecturer at the Königlichen Hochschule where he remained until his expulsion by the Nazis in 1934. Wilhelm Kempff, Ferdinand Leitner, Nikos Skalkottas, Günter Raphael and Arthur Rubinstein are among his best known pupils. In 1934 Kahn was forced to immigrate to England where he remained to his end of life.

Kahn’s Piano Quartet No. 2 was composed in 1899, at the zenith of Kahn’s chamber music activity and was often played – not least because of the catchy nature of his themes. The first decade of the 20th century saw the creation of the majority of Kahn’s solo songs, totaling about 250. Among them are numerous settings of Paul Heyse, including the series “Seven Songs with Piano Trio by Paul Heyse, ‘Fountain of Youth.'” In 1933 Kahn completed his Serenade for String Trio, a highly ambitious work; it seems to want to serve as a kind of retrospective of the 40 years that Kahn worked as a composer in Germany.

This recording comes with a definite sense of authenticity, because Rahel and Sara Rilling (violin and viola) are the great-granddaughters of the composer; together they bring to life this recording of their great forebear’s artistically compelling and unjustly forgotten works once again.

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