Poor Reger! With his pudgy figure and his pouty face, appearances have taken precedence over his music which many consider as pudgy and pouty. Which it is not. Yes, Reger was a firm supporter of absolute music, following the tradition of Beethoven and Brahms whose classical structures he combined with Wagner’s extended harmonies, adding Bach’s counterpoint; some of his works seem dense and complicated. But this is not the case with his chamber music – by the bye, chamber music makes up the biggest part of Reger’s œuvre – which reflects a condensed version of his stylistic development. And in contrast to his almost symphonic string quartets, the String Trios Opp 77b and 141b seem less symbolist-expressive than historistic-classicist. The confident, at times even cheerful (not pudgy and not pouty), character of these works convey the (superficial) impression of simplicity, despite which Reger remained true to his own style, as he explained in a letter where he described the composition as “absolutely not ‘un-Regerian’”. However, the characteristics of this “Regerian” style – dense modulations, surprising metric asymmetries and interesting part writing – are in this case subordinate to the small number of instruments and do not immediately emerge. The composer strove towards a “new simplicity”; in 1904 he wrote: “I know exactly what our music today lacks: a Mozart!” Surely it was also Mozart’s spirit which inspired Reger when he wrote his “miniature chamber music” String Trio Op. 141b in 1915. The same year, the premiere of his Piano Quartet Op. 133 was emphatically celebrated by the critics who praised its “glorious sonorities” and its “vocal, vivid and catchy” melodies. The Op. 77b, String Trio was obviously inspired by Mozart’s Divertimento K563, and the Op. 9 String Trios by Beethoven – as has often been commented upon, Reger frequently enters into an intensive dialogue with historic works of music. Star violinist Franziska Pietsch is joined, in her ensemble Trio Lirico, by a brilliant roster of colleagues, who give life to these highly deserving but neglected works.