Piano quintet : piano quintet
by Roger Smalley (2003)
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My Piano Quintet was composed between July and December 2003 especially for the ASQ, who had previously commissioned and premiered my Second String Quartet (2000).
The present work is in four movements. The first is a vigorous Overture, the third an equally vigorous Scherzo of the Haydn / Beethoven one-in-a-bar type. These two movements are separated by a much more fragmentary Intermezzo in which a small number of motifs are combined and recombined in ever-changing juxtapositions.
Twice during the course of the Scherzo a fragment of Chopin's posthumous Mazurka in F Minor (Op. 68 No. 4) is heard. In earlier times this piece was often referred to as 'Chopin's last musical thought'. After its second appearance the Scherzo loses momentum and ends inconclusively.
The final movement is the most extended, almost equaling the length of the first three. Here the highly chromatic chord progression of the Chopin quote is treated as a Chaconne (a repeating series of harmonies) over which are woven a series of seven variations, which together form a suite of character pieces all of which refer to musical types used by Chopin.
— © Roger Smalley
Instrumentation: 2 violins, viola, violoncello, piano.
Duration: 21 min.
Contents note: I. Overture -- II. Intermezzo -- III. Scherzo -- IV. Chaconne with variations.
Written for: Australian String Quartet
Commission note: John Bishop Memorial Commission for 2004
Review: CD: Through a Glass Darkly
reviewed by Rob Barnett
MusicWeb-International, March 2009
Resonate article: Adelaide Contemporary Music Festival by Tristan Louth-Robins
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