Piano Quartet (Schumann)

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The Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47, by Robert Schumann was written in 1842. It has been described as the "creative double" of Schumann's Piano Quintet, also in E-flat major. It is one of the most frequently performed and recorded piano quartets in the standard repertoire.[1]

Background[edit]

The work was composed in 1842, during Schumann's "Chamber Music Year." Prior to that year Schumann had completed no chamber music at all with the exception of an early piano quartet (in 1829). However, during his year-long concentration on the genre he wrote three string quartets and a piano quintet in addition to the piano quartet.

According to John Daverio, the work shows the influence of Franz Schubert's second piano trio, also in E-flat Major.[2]

Form[edit]

The piece is in four movements:

  1. Sostenuto assai - Allegro ma non troppo
  2. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II
  3. Andante cantabile
  4. Finale: Vivace

First Movement: Sostenuto assai - Allegro ma non troppo[edit]

Second Movement: Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II[edit]

This skittering movement resembles the "elfin scherzos" of Mendelssohn.[3]

Third Movement: Andante cantabile[edit]

A deeply romantic and song-like, melodic movement, with the cello prominent.

Finale: Finale: Vivace[edit]

A heavily contrapuntal movement built upon the three-note figure introduced in the coda of the preceding movement.[4]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ John Daverio, 'Robert Schumann: Herald of a "New Poetic Age."' (1997, Oxford), p. 259
  2. ^ John Daverio, 'Robert Schumann: Herald of a "New Poetic Age."' (1997, Oxford), p. 51
  3. ^ John Daverio, 'Robert Schumann: Herald of a "New Poetic Age."' (1997, Oxford), p. 253
  4. ^ John Daverio, 'Robert Schumann: Herald of a "New Poetic Age."' (1997, Oxford), p. 259-60

External links[edit]