César Franck - Franck Piano Quintet
Ludwig Van Beethoven - Beethoven Ghost Piano Trio
Johannes Brahms - Brahms String Sextet
F MINOR, OP.14
Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor was composed in the winter of 1878-1879 and did not have a good start. Some biographers suggest he was infatuated with one of his students at that time, which might also explain the disgust of Franck’s wife registered publically for it. The dedicatee of the work and pianist at the premiere in January 1880, Camille Saint-Saëns stalked off the stage, ignoring both the audience applause and the composer’s offer, leaving behind the original manuscript. Its ultra-expressive character and melancholy, that goes beyond the emotional range of many romantic pieces of that time ( Nadia Boulanger said it contains more ppp and fff markings than any other chamber piece ), was certainly influenced by Wagner’s slithery chromaticism, and that was the reason of the rejection by Saint-Saëns. Nevertheless, not only the quintet has found its place in the repertoire through numerous performances, but many have referred to it as ‘the king of piano quintets’.
I. Molto moderato quasi lento.
II. Lento, con molto sentimento.
III. Allegro non troppo, ma con fuoco.
Ludwig Van Beethoven
Ghost Piano Trio
D MAJOR, OP.70 NO.1
Beethoven composed his Trios for violin, piano, and cello, Op. 70 during his stance at Countess Marie von Erdödy's Estate. He then dedicated them to her for her hospitality. The pieces were published in 1809. The Trio Op. 70 no. 2 in D major, usually nicknamed 'The Ghost', is one of the best known works in the genre. It features some melodies found in the second movement of the composer's own Symphony no. 2. It was called 'The Ghost' because of its particularly eerie-sounding slow movement, and the name has persisted until today. Although Beethoven never actually abandoned the Classical harmonic language, the works of his second ("middle") period, including the "Ghost" Trio, gradually moved away from Classical models in terms of their length and intensity, as well as in their innovation. In addition, the music became increasingly difficult for even the top players of the time.
I. Allegro vivace e con brio
II. Largo assai ed espressivo
String Sextet No. 1
B FLAT MINOR, OP.18
Johannes Brahms completed his String Sextet in B flat Major No. 1, Op. 18, in 1860. The composer was still in his twenties when he wrote this work, and while it clearly bears his romantic, artistic stamp, it also betrays the strength of his early, classical influences, including Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, (whose later writing is prominent in the piece). In particular, the sextet reveals an especially acute understanding of Schubert's later writing and offers an astonishing wealth of melody, coupled with a masterful sense of proportion. The music’s lightness of texture (something Brahms would later bring to his Hungarian Dances) allows listener to revel in the composer’s delight at the differences in timbre between the violins, violas, and cellos. One way Brahms emphasizes the differences in texture is by playing the different pairs of instru-ments off against each other. His writing is so clear and so vivid that the music can be easily followed by the individual lines as they are woven together.
I. Allegro ma non troppo
II. Andante ma moderato
III. Scherzo: Allegro molto
IV. Rondo: Poco Allegretto e grazioso