The "B" IDENTITY I
Monday, January 16, 2012 8pm
William Noll, Music Director & Conductor
Fifth Avenue Chamber Orchestra
The Jasper String Quartet
Ilya Itin, Pianist
Brahms– Quintet in F Minor (1864)
Bartok – Quintet in C Major (1904, revised 1920)
This concert pairs two works for string quartet and
piano, written 40 years apart. Johannes Brahms was born in 1833 in
Brahms had previously written two piano quartets in 1861. The Quintet in F minor, Opus 34, was originally written as string quintet with two celli in 1862, and was rewritten in 1863 as a Sonata for Two Pianos. At the urging of Clara Schumann, Brahms revised the score again in 1864, this time as a Quintet for Piano, Two Violins, Viola and Cello, an ensemble suggested to him by the conductor Hermann Levi. “The Quintet is beautiful beyond words,” Levi wrote. “You have turned a monotonous work for two pianos into a thing of great beauty, a masterpiece of chamber music.” Konrad Wolfe, in his liner notes for the Leon Fleisher recording with the Juilliard String Quartet, declared that “the romanticism of his youth is now fused with his classical leanings in the one hand and his adventurous experimentation in the field of each separate musical element on the other”.
Bela Bartok is considered most important Hungarian
composer of 20th century. He entered the Budapest Academy of
Music in 1899 and was appointed Professor of Music there in 1907. He met
Zoltan Kodaly in 1904 (the same year as the Piano Quintet in C Major was
published) and discovered they both shared interest in folk music.
Together they collected folk music from all over
Although the Bartok quintet is not performed with
anything like the frequency of the Brahms, it has met with much acclaim
by those who have listened to it. For example, the customer reviews on
the Amazon.com page for the
The piano quintet is the real jewel on the crown. Its more developed than the other pieces and resembles, stylistically, the mature Bartok pieces we all know and love.
Bartók's early second piano quintet (the first one is lost) is a very fine work, even if the language is more reminiscent of that of Brahms, Liszt or Dohnanyi than his own later style - although there are certainly touches of originality and preechoes of his later style (mostly so in the finale, although the folk touches here are Gipsy rather than Hungarian).
Links to performances:
I. Allegro non troppo- Poco sostenuto – Tempo I
II. Andante, un poco adagio
III. Scherzo, Allegro
IV. Finale, poco sostenuto – Allegro non troppo – tempo I – Presto, non troppo
Bartok: Quintet in C major (1904, revised 1920)