Tag Archives: Piano Quintet

🎻♫♪ – Piano Quintet by Robert Schumann

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
99/501Title: Piano Quintet
Composer: Robert Schumann
Nationality: German

Thanks to some prolific weeks, I am back in the position where – at least for now – I am going to be able to start posting every day. This may go back down when things get busier again, but seeing how I am hitting the accelerator on the albums list and that I am now making a quicker path through the films, it felt like time.

So the let’s get onto my second Schumann piece – a Piano Quintet that is one of his more famous and beloved pieces. Honestly the first two sections of this four movement piece made enough of an effect on me that I was actually jotting notes as I was waiting for code to run.

The first of the four movements of Schumann’s Piano Quintet is something that I wish more classical music could be: fun. There is something so wonderfully energetic about this first section that it reminds me of a romantic chase, like some of the mythological scenes from Fantasia.

This contrasts hugely with the second ‘funeral march’ section which, if the first piece is a bit like a romantic chase, is the obstacle in the way of the chase. Kind of like the Montagues and Capulets from Romeo and Juliet or just how hopeless Lady Dedlock is in Bleak House given her back story.  I know I probably have these imaged from my head as this second section has been used in films I’ve seen like Fanny and Alexander and The Favourite.

The final two movements of the piece go back up in terms of energy levels, but in terms of interest they don’t manage to reach the same level as the contrasting first two. This was a really great classical piece to listen to and would have made for a satisfactory 100th piece… but that’ll have to wait until next time.

🎻♫♪ – Piano Quintet by Sergei Taneyev

List Item: Listen to half of the 1001 Classical Works You Must Hear Before You Die
62/501Title: Piano Quintet
Composer: Sergei Taneyev
Nationality: Russian

After a ballet and an opera, it is time to listen to something a bit more abstract with this Piano Quintet by Russian composer, and friend of Tchaikovsky, Sergei Taneyev. Yes, that’s a classical piece written for piano with a four-person sting section. The name made me wonder what it would have been like to see five fully-sized pianos on stage with a bunch of violinists… sadly that’s not the case.

This is a piece in four parts which, according to the notes I took at work, I described as “peppy” and “at times playful and at others stern”. Whilst I can say that I did enjoy the rise and fall of the piece (despite the finale fizzling out a bit), there isn’t really much that is too memorable that I was able to attach a memory to. Then again, that’s kinda the problem with these more abstract pieces where there isn’t a repeating refrain.

Interestingly, Taneyev’s Piano Quintet is the penultimate one on the classical list because, by the middle of the 20th century, they were starting to fall out of vogue for being a bit behind the times. At some point I’ll be listening to Schumann’s Piano Quintet – which pretty much popularised this as a classical form.