Archive for April, 2005

Beethoven, Handel Variations for Cello and Piano

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827

Twelve Variations on “See here the conqu’ring hero comes” from Handel’s Judas Maccabaeus, WoO 45 (for Cello and Piano), 1796

Ludwig van BeethovenBefore the revolutionary series of symphonies, string quartets and mature piano sonatas, the young Beethoven wrote a wide variety of chamber music to gain entry into the drawing rooms of his noble patrons. His first published opus was a set of piano trios and within a few years, he added a number of string trios and several works for cello and piano. Beethoven was the first to compose for this combination; his Op. 5 cello sonatas represent the birth of a genre. Though the cello began to enjoy a new independence in the chamber works of Haydn and Mozart, it was Beethoven who gave the cello its new intimate setting. (more…)

Elgar, Piano Quintet in a minor, Op. 84

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

Sir Edward Elgar, 1857-1934

Piano Quintet in a minor, Op. 84, 1919

Sir Edward ElgarIn a few short years after the first world war and before the death of his wife, Sir Edward Elgar realized his last important productive period as a composer. He moved from London to the Sussex countryside seeking refuge from a variety of overbearing concerns including the war, poor health, financial troubles and the loss of close friends. Inspired by walks in the woods, Elgar turned his attention almost exclusively to chamber music, composing a violin sonata, a string quartet and the Piano Quintet in a minor. (more…)

Schumann, Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47

Sunday, April 3rd, 2005

Robert Schumann, 1810-1856

Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47, 1842

Robert Schumann1842 is often called Schumann’s “Year of Chamber Music” because, in a stretch of nearly unbroken intensity, he produced three string quartets, a piano trio, the innovative piano quintet and the piano quartet. The Piano Quartet in E-flat-major, Op. 47, was the last of the series, written within a few weeks. Given Schumann’s affinity for the piano, it is not surprising that the piano quartet and piano quintet remain the most popular his chamber works. Of the two, the quartet, with is smaller ensemble, is naturally more intimate, its character more delicate, (more…)