The 8th Chania Chamber Music Festival opens with an introductory concert full of romance and poetry. 3 works written respectively in the late 19th and early 20th centuries are products of wisdom and maturity by 3 experienced composers. Love, passion on the one hand, and abandonment and waiting dominate the latest work of Ernest Chausson's short life, written by Charles Cros. On the other hand, the birth of the clarinet trio came from Brahms’ enthusiasm for the principle instrument. The opening concert closes with Gabriel Faure's 2nd piano quintet, where maturity and the French avant-guard are transformed into a musical conclusion, full of lyricism..
Ernest Chausson - Chanson perpetuelle op.37
Johannes Brahms - Clarinet trio op.114
Gabriel Fauré - Piano quintet no.2 op.115
Chanson perpetuelle op.37
Chausson is remembered as one of the most prominent and influential members of the Franck circle, and after a period of cleansing himself of his early musical influences, he and other friends attempted to renew interest in pure forms of classicalism. Chanson Perpetuelle, written in 1898 for voice, piano and orchestra or string quartet/quintet is the last completed work by Chausson. The work was dedicated to the singer Jeanne Raunay, who gave the premiere on January 28 or 29, 1899. Half a year later, Chausson himself died in an accident.
Chanson Perpetuelle is a moving representation of the clarity and conciseness, which appeared in Chausson's final works. The piece has an air of disenchantment and conveys the oppressive degree of Chausson's post-romantic world. The verse is a declaration of love to an absent lover and is taken directly from Charles Cros' poem "Chanson Perpetuelle."
Lent, dans le sentiment d'une chanson populaire
Clarinet trio op.114
The Clarinet Trio is the first of four chamber works inspired by the principal clarinetist of the Meiningen Court Orchestra, Richard Mühlfeld. It was in 1891 that Brahms, while on a week-long stay at the Meiningen court in March, asked Mühlfeld to perform privately for him. Apparently Brahms was impressed and in November he returned to Meiningen with two new works in hand : the Trio for clarinet, cello and piano, Op. 114, and the Quintet for clarinet and strings, Op. 115. The Trio is a typical example of the restrained and concentrated style of Brahms' later works. It is in the typical four-movement form, and offers nothing remarkable or unusual except in its polished workmanship and Romantic warmth. There is no question that this work, as with the later sonatas for clarinet, was written with that instrument in mind -- the alternative of the viola was added by the first publisher. Regardless, the clarinet plays almost a subordinate role to the cello, weaving contrapuntal inner parts as often as it takes the main melodic material.
III. Adantino Grazioso
Piano quintet no.2 op.115
The Second Piano Quintet by Gabriel Fauré is one of the crowning jewels of his consistent compositional work in the field of chamber music. The great French composer, devoted teacher and visionary director of the prestigious Paris Conservatoire composed it when he was 75 years old and almost deaf; yet it is a piece of almost unparalleled charm, delicate melodic lines and a transparent use of form. Unlike its famous predecessors of Schumann and Brahms, the Quintet uses the piano as a sophisticatedly accompanying instrument with constant swelling figurations adding harmonic tensions that convey the real character of the singing melodies attributed to the strings. Any listener expecting romantic drama and extrovert gestures of unrestrained passion will be eventually disappointed. The whole piece, despite the genuine freshness of the thematic material, a very personal and innovative harmonic language and a fascinating rhythmical vigor (especially in the 2nd and 4th movement) expresses a rather autumnal, nostalgic view on musical beauty. It makes perfect sense as an esoteric journey into a vast variety of human sentiments, presented at all times with the wise subtlety and craftsmanship of age.
I. Allegro moderato
II. Allegro vivo
III. Andante moderato
IV. Allegro molto