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chamber music


The strings of Daniel Hope, Lawrence Power and Nicolas Altstaedt are accompanied by the piano of Julien Quentin for a colourful concert.


FRANZ SCHMIDT (1874-1939)
First piece from “Drei kleine Fantasiestücke nach ungarischen Nationalmelodien” for cello and piano

ANTONÍN DVOŘÁK (1841-1904)
“Slavonic Fantasy” in B Minor, transcription for violin and piano by Fritz Kreisler
“Silent Woods” Op. 68 No. 5 for cello and piano
Sonatina in G major for violin and piano Op. 100


MAX BRUCH (1882-1937)
Selection from 8 Pieces Op. 83 for violin, viola and piano (selection)

Piano Quartet No. 2 in C minor Op. 20

Based on Hungarian folk tines, Franz Schmidt’s early Three Fantasy Pieces of 1892 drew both on his early childhood in Austro-Hungarian Pressburg (Bratislava), and on strengths as a cellist that would lead to over 20 years in the Vienna Court Opera Orchestra. No. 1 in G major has singing outer sections surrounding a recitative-like central passage, its major key belying frequent melancholic forays to the minor. No. 2 in D major encases a soulful, low-register Adagio within dainty upper-register Allegretto con moto bookends. The rapid passagework of No. 3 in D minor then hints at Schmidt’s formidable technique.

Virtuoso violinist Fritz Kreisler’s rich contribution to his own instrument’s repertoire included many deftly worked transcriptions, including of Dvořák’s popular Slavonic Dances, which themselves began life in 1878 for piano four hands. Also originally for piano four hands were Dvořák’s six character pieces of 1883, From the Bohemian Forest. It was Dvořák himself who then provided the cello and piano version of the lyrical fifth, Silent Woods, after the success of a violin transcription he had produced for his 1892 farewell tour before moving to America. The four-movement Sonatina in G minor he later wrote there radiates New World influence with its melodies and rhythms imitating spirituals and native Indian music. An Allegro risoluto opens, balancing multiple colours and moods. Next come a Larghetto lamentation and a spirited Scherzo, before a dramatic and multi-faceted Finale.

Bruch’s eight short Opus 83 trios of 1910 usually feature a clarinet rather than a violin. Late-life works, and late Romantic of language, they have a similar autumnal mood to the late-life clarinet works of Brahms. There’s equally a late-Romantic warmth, plus a distinctly Brahmsian flavour, to the piano quartet composed by Brahms’s now largely overlooked friend, Friedrich Gernsheim. First comes a warm Allegro molto moderato, spiced by metrical interplay between triple and duple metre. An Adagio cantabile of langorous melodic beauty and softly interwoven counterpoint follows. The work then climaxes on an urgent, folk-redolent Rondo.