César Franck: Piano Quintet in F minor
César Franck’s extremely emotional Piano Quintet sits strongly beside the French composer’s hottest works. Premiered in 1880 by the Marsick Quartet and Camille Saint-Saëns on the piano, the quintet was devoted to Saint-Saëns. Though now considered certainly one of Franck’s finest musical achievements, scandal broke out on the premiere when Saint-Saëns completed performing and walked out immediately, leaving the music open and the piano lid. This was an indication that marked disdain in direction of the music. Franck saved the work devoted to Saint-Saëns even after the premiere. Because of the cool reception of the quintet, Franck solely heard the work carried out a small variety of occasions earlier than his demise. It was solely then within the subsequent century that audiences realised what an enormous milestone the quintet was for the development and growth of French chamber music.
Forged into three actions, Franck’s writing for the quintet is emotionally tumultuous, with Nadia Boulanger commenting that the work has probably the most dynamic modifications in any chamber work composed.
Motion I – Molto moderato quasi lento – Allegro
The expansive opening motion rests on a typical classical sonata kind with a gradual introduction. Primarily led by the piano within the gradual introduction, Franck’s Romantic fashion creates wealthy textures between the quartet and piano. Set in F minor, the sombre undertones of the music add to the drama, particularly when Franck writes quick piano interludes at a quiet dynamic, with the strings coming into loudly and dramatically. The underlying rumblings of this motion construct as much as an intense central part that develops the principal theme.
All through this opening motion Franck makes use of the piano to intersperse quick-changing textures. This impact creates area between the extreme and dramatic part. This involves a head when a virtually cadenza-like piano part takes off close to the top of the motion. As the opposite devices take part for the principle climax of the motion, the dynamic rapidly drops, and the motion involves a quiet, however acknowledged, conclusion.
Motion II – Lento con molto sentimento
The lyrical center motion is filled with luscious melodies, that are as soon as once more led by the piano. The exploration of the melody is dealt with in a different way on this motion, with Franck utilising every a part of the quintet, and passing the fabric throughout the ensemble. The emotional undertones of this motion is what offers it its attraction, with critics claiming that that is probably the most profitable of the three actions. Equally to the opening motion, this part additionally ends quietly.
Motion III – Allegro non troppo ma con fuoco
The thrilling buzz of the finale motion is about off by the violin who performs a buzzing melody. The piano and cello intensify on totally different beats because the violin whizzes off. The depth returns on this motion, with a whole lot of the content material of this part being extremely strung and tense. Franck makes use of probably the most unison taking part in on this motion, with the ensemble usually linking as much as undergo vital phrases of the music. The ultimate minute of the quintet is intense because the music begins to hurry off. Franck strikes by way of many keys till resting into the ultimate key because the ensemble unites to play the ultimate syncopated rhythm earlier than coming to a rousing shut.
Laden with emotional melodies, wealthy textures and an enormous variety of key modifications, César Franck’s Piano Quintet is an expressive work that highlights the change in French chamber music on the time of composition.
Ⓒ Alex Burns
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