The Life and Work of Richard Stöhr


Four Fantasy Pieces for Cello & Piano Op. 17

The Four Fantasy Pieces were composed in 1907 and published in 1909. It seems that owing to the emotional turmoil of the end of his first marriage, this was the only work that he composed that year. In the Diary Summary of 1907 he writes: “My activity in composition lay almost completely dormant until the fall. In the summer I suffered terribly because of the inability to work and only finished the copying of my text book on counterpoint, which I hope will be printed in the course of the next year. Now in the fall I have completed Four Fantasy Pieces for cello, which were well done and from which I conclude that the well is not dry yet.”

The Fantasy Pieces evoke the world of Schumann and Brahms. It should be noted that Robert Fuchs composed seven Fantasy Pieces for cello, but while Stöhr may have borrowed the idea for such pieces from Fuchs, he appears to have looked to those earlier composers for inspiration. These four pieces were published in two miniature suites of two pieces each, and can be performed as such. However, taking all four together, they come full circle via the structure of the first and fourth pieces, which are very similar in their ABAB form. A gifted teacher and practitioner of counterpoint, Stöhr includes a very finely crafted canon in the Third Fantasy Piece.

The Fantasy Pieces were recorded together with the Cello Sonata by Stefan Koch and Robert Conway on Toccata Classics, released August 2014 and currently available for purchase from online retailers.  Snippets of both works can be heard on the Listen page and also at Toccata’s website:

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