Gyula Beliczay, String Quartet in g minor, Op. 21

May 1, 2018

"A pleasing work," so wrote Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music of Gyula Beliczay's String Quartet No.1 in g minor, which dates from 1878. It begins with a substantial, somber Adagio introduction. The main part of the first movement is a turbulent Allegro moderato. The second movement, an elegant Intermezzo, allegro grazioso, is at times stately, at others lyrical and wistful. Next comes a deeply felt Adagio interrupted by a contrasting, march-like middle section. The finale is an energetic Allegro risoluto.

Gyula Beliczay (1835-1893), sometimes known as Julius in German and English speaking countries, was born in the Hungarian town of Révkomárom (now in Slovakia on the Danubian border between Hungary and Slovakia). He studied engineering and music in Pressburg and Vienna. He pursued a dual career serving as chief engineer in the Austro-Hungarian Ministry of Communications. He studied music at the same time he took his engineering degree, piano with Carl Czerny and composition with Martin Nottebohm. His piano playing was admired by Liszt and Anton Rubinstein and his compositions were highly praised by contemporaries and performed all over Europe and even as far away as New York. He also was a sought after conductor and composition teacher and after retiring from his government position, he served as director of the Budapest Academy of Music between 1888 and 1892. His music shows the influence of Schubert, Mendelssohn and Schumann but also of the Hungarian composers Mihaly Mosonyi and Ferenc Erkel. He wrote in most genres and numbers three string quartets, a piano trio, this nonet and several instrumental sonatas among his compositions.

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Gabriel Fauré, Piano Quartet No. 2 in g minor, Op. 45

October 27, 2017

Gabriel FauréGabriel Fauré (1845-1924) was born in the village of Pamiers, Ariège, Midi-Pyrénées. At an early age he was sent to study at the famous École Niedermeyer, a Parisian school which prepared church organists and choir directors. He studied with several prominent French musicians, including Charles Lefèvre and Camille Saint-Saëns. For most of his life, Fauré worked as a church organist and teacher. Among his students were Maurice Ravel and Nadia Boulanger. He was a founder of the the Société Nationale de Musique and eventually became director of the Paris Conservatory. In retrospect, he has come to be regarded as a transitional and unique figure in French music. His lifetime and works spanned the period of the mid Romantic right up to the modern post-WWI developments of Stravinsky. He and his music were well-known during his lifetime and several of his works are still popular today such as his Requiem, the opera Pénélope, the music for Pelléas et Mélisande and the Dolly Suite. He wrote a considerable amount of chamber music; including two piano quartets, two piano quintets, two cello sonatas, two violin sonatas, a string quartet, and a piano trio.

Faure’s Second Piano Quartet was completed in 1887. It is his only major work that experiments with cyclic form, an approach that was quite popular in France thanks to the influence of César Franck and Franz Liszt. The first movement, Allegro molto moderato, opens with a long and flowing unison string melody. The viola introduces the secondary theme, which is closely related to the first subject. The second movement, Allegro molto, begins in turbulent fashion with a breathless, syncopated theme in the piano. What appears to be a lyrical contrasting theme in the strings is another version of material from the beginning of the first movement; at the same time it is related to the scale passage of the scherzo theme. Fauré wrote that the third movement, Adagio non troppo, grew out of his memories of the sounds of bells heard years before in the garden of his family’s home in Cadirac. The finale, Allegro molto, is full of energy, passion, and turbulence. Its theme of surging triplets has a relentless forward drive. Later, contrasting ideas recall themes originally heard in the scherzo and the first movement.

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Sergei Taneyev, String Quartet No.9 in A Major

Sergei Taneyev Sergei Taneyev's String Quartet No.9 in A Major is the third of three string quartets he composed between 1880 and 1885 and before he wrote his String Quartet No.1Allegro moderato is sunny and slightly Russian sounding. Tchaikovsky, whom Taneyev asked to review his manuscript, wrote on it that the movement was very elegant. The second movement, Andante, is quite lyrical and song like. Tchaikovsky especially liked the lively Russian-sounding third movement, marked Scherzo, Allegro con fuoco. The trio section is calmer and provides an excellent contrast. The Finale, Allegro giocoso, is a modern version of a rondo characterized by its rhythmically interesting main subject.

Sergei Taneyev (1856-1915) is one of the greatest Russian composers from the last half of the 19th and early 20th centuries and probably, from this group, the one whose music is the least known in the West. Taneyev came from an aristocratic family that patronized the arts and when Sergei's talent became apparent, his father sent him to the newly opened Moscow Conservatory at the age of 10. His main teachers there were Nicolai Rubinstein for piano and Tchaikovsky for composition. Although he became a brilliant pianist, Taneyev opted for a career as a composer and teacher and soon became a professor at the Conservatory. His fame both as a teacher and as a composer quickly spread. Among his many students were Glière, Rachmaninov, Gretchaninov, Scriabin and Medtner. In Russian concert halls, one always finds a bust of Taneyev alongside those of Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Schumann, Brahms and Tchaikovsky. Sadly, the fame of this outstanding composer has not spread beyond his homeland. Influenced by Tchaikovsky, Taneyev preferred to write "pure" music rather than Russian-sounding or so-called "nationalistic" music based on Russian folk melodies. As such, he remained outside of the famous Nationalist School headed by Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory, and his music sounds markedly different from that of Rimsky and his famous students such as Borodin and Glazunov.

Our world premiere edition was made from the score by our senior editors Tomasz Golinski and Raymond Silvertrust.This is a magnificient work, in our opinion a masterpiece deserving of concert performance and the attention of amateurs. We are very proud to have made this work available and warmly recommend it to your attention

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Philippe Gaubert, Medailles Antiques for Flute, Violin and Piano

Philippe Gaubert's Philippe Gaubert's Medailles Antiques, composed in 1916 are two neoclassical short tone poems: Nymphes à la Fontaine and Danses. It is not clear why Gaubert chose a title such Medailles Antiques (Ancient Medals) when the titles to the two movements appear to have nothing to do with medals. However, it is quiet possible that Gaubert was thinking of the Cabinet des Medailles, a part of the French National Library which houses old coins and other valuable antiquities and perhaps he had come across something which reminded him of these. In any event, these are two lovely pieces, good for concert.

Philippe Gaubert (1879-1941) was born in the southern French town of Cahors. He studied flute with Paul Taffanel at the Paris Conservatory and became the leading flautist in France for several decades. He pursued a career as a performer, became conductor of the Paris Opera Orchestra and Professor of Flute at the Paris Conservatory. Not surprisingly, most of his compositions include the flute.

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Janusz de Kopczynski, String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.9 'On Russian Themes'

Very little information is available about the Polish composer Janusz de Kopczyński. Even his dates of birth and death are not certain. French sources state he was born in 1831 but the Polish National Library lists him as being born in 1838. As for his death, the Polish National Library notes it was after 1882, perhaps 1883. What little we know comes from two 19th century French dictionaries: Les musiciens polonais et slaves, anciens et modernes (1857); and Biographie universelle des musiciens et bibliographie générale de la Musique (1884). The entries on Kopczynski are quite brief. They tell us that he was born on the estate of his family near Horokhiv in western Ukraine. From his surname, we can deduce that he was part of the Polish nobility. He studied piano with Ignacy Platon Kozlowski, a student of John Field, in the Podolian town of Vinnytsia. Some time in the 1850s, he subsequently traveled to Paris where he studied piano and composition with the piano virtuoso Charles Valentin Alkan. It is reported that he became a very accomplished pianist. While in Paris, he wrote several works for piano in the then popular style brillant that achieved some degree of popularity. Virtually nothing is known of his later life.

His String Quartet in D Major was not published until 1912 when it was brought out by the Polish firm of Anton Piwarski of Cracow. From the cover, which is in French, we can see that it is listed as his first string quartet and it is subtitled On Russian Themes. It is unknown if he wrote a second. Though published in 1912, it seems unlikely that it was composed anytime around then. Rather, judging from the style, its opus number, and the cover which is in French despite the fact that the music was engraved in Germany and published Poland, makes it seem more likely that the Quartet was composed sometime in the 1860s or early 1870s, perhaps while Kopczynski was still in France. Of course it is possible, though unlikely, that Kopczynski could still have been alive in 1912, but he would have been near or in his 80s and few composers were active so late. Unfortunately, until more information can be found, all of this is just an educated guess. Kopczynski may have got the idea of writing a quartet on Russian folk melodies from his teacher Kozlowski who wrote an Opera, Marylla czyli Dożynki (Marylla or the Harvest Festival) which is based on Ukrainian themes.

Kopczynski's quartet is in four movements and each movement is based on one or more well-known Russian folk melodies. Right from the opening bars of the first movement, Allegro moderato, comes a stately, famous Russian folk tune. After its development comes a jaunty melody, obviously another Russian folk melody. The second movement, Andante, is a theme and set of variations. The lovely theme is sad and plaintive. The variations are interesting and well-done. Next comes a lively Presto prefaced by a short, slower introduction. The finale, a Rondo Allegro vivo, like the preceding movement, begins with a brief, slow introduction, Un poco con moto e sostenuto. The theme in the Allegro is a bright, charming Russian peasant dance.

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Benjamin Godard, Piano Trio No.2 in F Major, Op.72

Benjamin Godard "Benjamin Godard's two piano trios are delightful and are to be unhesitatingly recommended." This was the opinion of Walter Wilson Cobbett, editor of the highly respected guide to chamber music, Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music.

Piano Trio No.2 dates from 1884. It clearly shows his ability to write in a dramatic vein while at the same time showcasing his considerable lyrical talent which his contemporaries constantly praised. The opening movement Allegro moderato begins with the strings singing a cantabile melody over the syncopated resistance in the piano. The harmonic writing is very sophisticated. The tender melody of the second movement, Adagio, creates a sunny mood which is only briefly interrupted by a few shadows in the middle section. The playful Vivace with its warbling birdsong serves as a scherzo. The dotted rhythm and swelling melody of the stormy finale, Allegro vivace, gives the music an almost Hungarian flavor.

Benjamin Godard (1849-95) was born in Paris. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire composition with Henri Reber and violin with Henri Vieuxtemps. He was somewhat of a prodigy on that instrument, as well as on the viola, and accompanied Vieuxtemps to Germany on concert tours on two occasions. Godard enjoyed chamber music and played in several performing ensembles. This experience stood him good stead when it came to writing effective chamber music compositions. In 1878, Godard was the co-winner with Théodore Dubois, head of the Paris Conservatory, of a musical competition instituted by the city of Paris.

He composed music with great facility and from 1878 to the time until his death Godard composed a surprisingly large number of works, including the opera Jocelyn, from which the famous "Berceuse" has become perhaps his best-known work. He also composed several symphonic works, ballets, concertos, overtures and chamber music, including three string quartets and two piano trios.

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Benjamin Godard, Piano Trio No.1 in g minor, Op.32

Benjamin Godard "Benjamin Godard's two piano trios are delightful and are to be unhesitatingly recommended." This was the opinion of Walter Wilson Cobbett, editor of the highly respected guide to chamber music, Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music.

Benjamin Godard (1849-95) was born in Paris. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire composition with Henri Reber and violin with Henri Vieuxtemps. He was somewhat of a prodigy on that instrument, as well as on the viola, and accompanied Vieuxtemps to Germany on concert tours on two occasions. Godard enjoyed chamber music and played in several performing ensembles. This experience stood him good stead when it came to writing effective chamber music compositions. In 1878, Godard was the co-winner with Théodore Dubois, head of the Paris Conservatory, of a musical competition instituted by the city of Paris.

He composed music with great facility and from 1878 to the time until his death Godard composed a surprisingly large number of works, including the opera Jocelyn, from which the famous "Berceuse" has become perhaps his best-known work. He also composed several symphonic works, ballets, concertos, overtures and chamber music, including three string quartets and two piano trios.

Piano Trio No.1 dates from 1880 and for many years enjoyed considerable popularity. The restless, opening Allegro begins with a turbulent theme in which the piano is given a fast running passage softly played beneath the longer-lined melody in the strings. A second theme is quieter and of a reflective nature. The following Tempo di Minuetto is not a minuet but a bouncy, highly accented scherzo. The middle section has a Russian orthodox church-like melody which is cleverly interrupted by the sprightly first theme after almost every utterance, creating an original effect. The third movement Andante is a simple but beautiful lovers' duet. First the violin the calls out, then the cello answers. Eventually, they join in and sing together. The finale, Allegro, follows without pause. It begins in the same turbulent theme that began the trio, although in a slightly altered form. Godard actually brings back each of the earlier themes from the preceding movements, but ingeniously clothes in a quite different guise.

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Benjamin Godard, String Quartet No.1 in g minor, Op.33

Benjamin Godard Benjamin Godard (1849-95) was born in Paris. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire composition with Henri Reber and violin with Henri Vieuxtemps. He was somewhat of a prodigy on that instrument, as well as on the viola, and accompanied Vieuxtemps to Germany on concert tours on two occasions. Godard enjoyed chamber music and played in several performing ensembles. This experience stood him good stead when it came to writing effective chamber music compositions. In 1878, Godard was the co-winner with Théodore Dubois, head of the Paris Conservatory, of a musical competition instituted by the city of Paris. He composed music with great facility and from 1878 to the time until his death Godard composed a surprisingly large number of works, including the opera Jocelyn, from which the famous "Berceuse" has become perhaps his best-known work. He also composed several symphonic works, ballets, concertos, overtures and chamber music, including three string quartets and two piano trios.

Writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players, the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmannhas this to say about Godard’s String Quartet No.1:

“Godard’s First String Quartet dates from 1882 and demonstrates the composer not only has total command of quartet movement technique but also knows how to write a good fugue. The spirited, lyrical theme of the energetic first movement, Allegro, is highly appealing. The unusually harmonic twists and tonal effects are particularly effective. The second movement, Andantino, is a very pleasing theme and set of variations. A short playful pizzicato introduction introduces precedes the charming theme. A short, gorgeous Andante quasi adagio is a lovely song without words. The finale consists of a bustling and quite effective Allegro. Amateurs will certainly enjoy this richly melodic quartet which is strong enough for the concert hall where it is sure to win friends.”

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Theodor Kirchner, Bunte Blätter for Piano Trio

Theodor Kirchner Theodor Kirchner (1823-1903) was widely considered to be the undisputed master of the character piece, a short kind of free form work. Kirchner literally wrote hundreds of such pieces that can rightly be considered little gems, little masterpieces.

He was born in the town of Neukirchen near Chemnitz in the German province of Saxony. He showed a prodigious musical talent at an early age, however, his father was reluctant to let him study music. It was only after hearing both Schumann and Mendelssohn highly praise his son’s talent that he permitted Theodor to attend the Leipzig Conservatory, where he studied with Mendelssohn, among others. It was upon Mendelssohn’s recommendation that Kirchner in 1843 obtained his first position as organist of the main church in Winterthur in Switzerland. He was a friend of both Robert and Clara Schumann as well as Brahms.

Kirchner’s compositional talent was widely respected and held in the highest regard by Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Wagner and many others. But Kirchner, found himself unable to write large-scale works. Rather, he excelled at writing miniatures. He would often write several at a time and then publish them together, each with a different mood and feel and each perfect in its own way.

Though primarily known, during his lifetime, as an organist, pianist and teacher, he wrote more than 1,000 works, most are short and for the piano, although he did write a small amount of very appealing chamber music, primarily for piano trio.

The Seven Character Pieces were originally published in 1888 as his Op.83, a set of 12 pieces he titled "Bunte Blätter" (“brightly colored leaves” in German). Our edition is based on the original, but we have selected what we consider to be the best of the set and have arranged them in an appealing order for concert performance, although, because none of the pieces are longer than 4 minutes, any of them would surely make an excellent encore. Both amateurs and professionals alike will find these pieces much to their taste.

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Peter Heise, Piano Trio in E flat Major

Peter Heise Peter Heise (1830-1879) was born in Copenhagen where he studied locally before attending the Leipzig Conservatory. Heise was of the generation for whom Mendelssohn. and Schumann. were the guiding lights. He was also influenced by his fellow countryman, Niels Gade. He did not find Wagner and the tonal ideas of the New German School to his taste. Upon his return to Copenhagen, he made a name for himself as a song writer although he composed in most genres. His opera Drot og Marsk (King & Marshall) was widely regarded the finest Danish opera of the 19th century. Although his instrumental works are almost uniformly excellent, because of the tremendous popularity of his songs, they were overlooked. Among his chamber music works are 6 string quartets, a piano trio, this piano quintet, and a number of instrumental sonatas.

On a trip to Rome, Heise met and befriended the Italian composer and pianist, Giovanni Sgambati. The Trio, which dates from 1869, is dedicated to Sgambati. The music is characterized by youthful energy and elan. The movements are overflowing with melodic ideas, most taken from Nordic folk music. The opening movement, Allegro molto risoluto, begins in a typically classical Beethovenian fashion, but the melodic writing is clearly romantic, especially the lyrical second theme. In the second movement, Andantino, one can clearly hear from the wonderful vocal qualities of the melodies, that Heise, like Mozart and Schubert, was a superb composer for voice. The movement might well be subtitled, Romance. It is by turns dramatic, sensitive and wistful. A scherzo, Presto—Vivace, follows. Taken at a furious tempo, the music is full of high spirits, while the Nordic sounding trio surely must have influenced Grieg. Again, in the finale, Allegro con spirito, Heise relies on Nordic folk music for his themes from which he fashions an appealing dancing melody. Against this comes a highly romantic second theme.

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Peter Heise, Piano Quintet in F Major

Peter Heise Peter Heise (1830-1879) was born in Copenhagen where he studied locally before attending the Leipzig Conservatory. Heise was of the generation for whom Mendelssohn. and Schumann. were the guiding lights. He was also influenced by his fellow countryman, Niels Gade. He did not find Wagner and the tonal ideas of the New German School to his taste. Upon his return to Copenhagen, he made a name for himself as a song writer although he composed in most genres. His opera Drot og Marsk (King & Marshall) was widely regarded the finest Danish opera of the 19th century. Although his instrumental works are almost uniformly excellent, because of the tremendous popularity of his songs, they were overlooked. Among his chamber music works are 6 string quartets, a piano trio, this piano quintet, and a number of instrumental sonatas.

After hearing Brahms' Piano Quintet, which he did not find to his taste, Heise decided that he could write a piano quintet which was just as good or better. Whether he did this is a matter of personal opinion but there is no denying that this piano quintet, which dates from 1869, is a superb work which did not deserve to lie in oblivion for 140 years. The opening movement, Lento a piacere-Allegro energico, after a brief slow, formal introduction, which ends with a piano flourish, literally takes off in a burst of energy. The lovely theme is full of optimism and good spirits. This is follows by an attractive and lyrical second section, which in turn is followed by an appealing third section. The music is simply brimming with ideas. The lovely second movement, Larghetto, has an undeniable vocal quality. The strings alone introduce the finely wrought main theme which is of a highly romantic nature. The piano enters bring a heightened sense of drama. A lively scherzo, Intermezzo, vivace ma non troppo presto, follows. The music has an airy Italian quality to it. The finale, Lento con expressione-Allegro molto, begins with a slow, mildly sad introduction. The main part of the movement bustles forward and is in the grand manner.

We are proud to present the world premiere edition which is based on the original manuscript in the Royal Danish Library of Copenhagen. It has been carefully edited and corrected by Senior Editor Skyler Silvertrust who has many world premiere editions to his credit. Professionals and amateurs who take the time to make this works acquaintance will be well rewarded.

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Heitor Villa-Lobos, String Quartet No. 1

Heitor Villa-Lobos Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-59) Brazil's best-known composer is widely regarded as one of the most important of the 20th century. While many of his works for orchestra and or voice and instruments, such as his many Choros and Bachianas brasileiras, are widely performed, his chamber music, of which he wrote a considerable amount, is virtually unknown outside of Brazil. This is certainly a great pity as many masterworks are to be found among his 17 string quartets, three piano trios and several other chamber compositions. Villa-Lobos once stated, "I love to write string quartets. One could say it is a mania." He claimed to have learned quartet technique from having studied the quartets of Haydn.

Villa-Lobos was born in Rio de Janeiro. His father was an amateur musician and much of what he learned was from hearing and taking part in the chamber music evenings held at his home. He learned to play the cello, clarinet and guitar and did attend the Conservatorio de Musica where he studied with Alberto Nepomuceno, then Brazil's leading composer (Edition Silvertrust has published the world premiere edition of two of his string quartets). Afterwards, for a decade, beginning in 1905, Villa-Lobos explored the native and folk melodies of interior Brazil paying especial attention to the melding of African with Portuguese melody. Between 1916-1920, he was greatly influenced by developments in modern French music due to visit to Brazil by Darius Milhaud and Sergei Diaghilev among others. In the 1920's, he made two visits to Paris and familiarized himself further with current developments.

String Quartet No.1 dates from 1915 and is unlike any of his others. It is a folkloric suite of six pieces, alternately lyrical and dancelike, nostalgic and happy. Its language is romantic, and its structure is deliberately simple. Four of the movements are virtually monothematic; the third and fifth are in ternary song form. A Cantilena (Andante) with the character of a serenade establishes a songlike mood at the outset. This is followed by Brincadeira (Allegretto scherzando), a lively Brazilian polka. Canto lirico (Moderato) is expressive and contemplative, or perhaps tinged with irony and meant as a caricature of the romantic aria. A more animated Cançoneta (Andante, quasi allegretto) follows. Nostalgia pervades Melancolia (Lento), the quartet's most fully developed and true slow movement. Finally, Saltando como um Saci (Allegro), roughly translatable as Jumping Like an Imp, is a fugal dance with a catchy tune. The imp refers to Saci Perere, a mythical, one-legged black dwarf who wears a red cap, frequents jungle areas and delights in frightening people.

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Benjamin Godard, String Quartet No.3 in A Major, Op.136

Benjamin Godard Benjamin Godard’s String Quartet No.3 in A Major dates from 1892. The work opens with a cello solo before the others join in to take part in the serene and quite lyrical Allegro con moto. A beautiful and calm Adagio non troppo in which the cello is highlighted follows. The concise third movement, though marked Minuetto molto moderato, nonetheless has the feel of a scherzo. The exciting finale, Allegro con moto, is full of fire and rhythmic tension.

Benjamin Godard (1849-95) was born in Paris. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire composition with Reber and violin with Henri Vieuxtemps. He was somewhat of a prodigy on that instrument, as well as on the viola, and accompanied Vieuxtemps to Germany on concert tours on two occasions. Godard enjoyed chamber music and played in several performing ensembles. This experience stood him good stead when it came to writing effective chamber music compositions. In 1878, Godard was the co-winner with Théodore Dubois, head of the Paris Conservatory, of a musical competition instituted by the city of Paris. He composed music with great facility and from 1878 up to the time until his death Godard composed a surprisingly large number of works, including the opera Jocelyn, from which the famous "Berceuse" has become perhaps his best known work. He also composed several symphonic works, ballets, concertos, overtures and chamber music, including three string quartets and two piano trios.

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Felix Weingartner, String Quintet in C Major, Op.40

The famed chamber music critic and scholar Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Chamber Music Handbook, describes this quintet as follows:

Felix Weingartner “Felix Weingartner's String Quintet dates from 1906. The opening Allegro con brio has a weighty and vigorous main subject, followed by an equally vigorous subsidiary theme. Very delicate and graceful is the second subject, around which there plays a charming accompaniment figure. This is a highly effective movement throughout. The second movement, Allegretto grazioso is in the form of an updated rococo dainty minuet. The lively and fleet trio, which is repeated twice, is in the form of a two step dance and provides a superb contrast. The following movement, Molto agitato e passionate, is a recitative, in which the first violin is given the lead. It is succeeded simple, naïve air, which is skillfully and ingeniously varied. A big, magnificent finale, Allegro e marcato deciso in c minor, begins with a passionate melody. It contains a kind of chorale, and, after reaching a brilliant climax, closes consolingly with an andante in the major mode, soft and mainly tender in character. There is no question but that this fine sounding and effective work would triumph in the concert hall and experienced amateur players also should not miss the chance to play it.”

Felix Weingartner (1863-1942) was born in Zara, Dalmatia, today's Zadar, Croatia, to Austrian parents. In 1883, he went to the Leipzig Conservatory where he studied composition with Carl Reinecke. He also studied privately with Franz Liszt in Weimar. Weingartner was one of the most famous and successful conductors of his time, holding positions in Hamburg, Mannheim, Danzig, Munich, Berlin and Vienna, where he succeeded Gustav Mahler as Director of the Imperial Opera. Despite his demanding career as a conductor, Weingartner, like Mahler, thought of himself equally as a composer and devoted considerable time to composition. He wrote several symphonies, numerous operas, some instrumental concertos, and a considerable amount of chamber music, including four string quartets, a piano sextet and a string quintet. Additionally he wrote a great number of vocal works and instrumental sonatas. Though many of his works originally achieved a fair amount acclaim, they quickly disappeared from the concert stage. It is only in the past few years that their excellence has been rediscovered.

This is a superb work. There is nothing at all like it in the quintet literature. Out of print for half a century, this is your opportunity to play an exciting and satisfying early modern quintet of the first order.

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Felix Weingartner, String Quartet No.1 in d minor, Op.24

Felix Weingartner "Weingartner’s First String Quartet was composed in 1898. Written in excellent quartet style, it plays very well. The opening bars to the first movement, Allegro moderato, quote Schubert’s famous Death and the Maiden string quartet. (This was no accident as the work was occasioned by two deaths, the first of the child of a close friend, the second of Otto von Bismarck, whom Weingartner greatly respected as the man who had unified Germany.) This serious movement is highly effective because of the excellent contrast between the themes. In the second movement, Adagio assai, we hear echoes from the Adagio of Beethoven's Op.18 No.2. A powerful scherzo, Allegro molto, follows. It has a particularly striking trio section with exotic tonal coloring. The finale, Introduzione - Tema con variazione, begins with an introduction recalling the thematic material of the first movement before a very appealing theme makes its appearance. It is followed by several clever and well-executed variations, including an exceptional fugue, marked Allegro inflammato e deciso. This work unquestionably belongs in the concert hall."

So wrote the respected chamber music critic, Wilhelm Altmann in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.

Felix Weingartner (1863-1942) was born in Zara, Dalmatia, today's Zadar, Croatia, to Austrian parents. In 1883, he went to the Leipzig Conservatory where he studied composition with Carl Reinecke. He also studied privately with Franz Liszt in Weimar. Weingartner was one of the most famous and successful conductors of his time, holding positions in Hamburg, Mannheim, Danzig, Munich, Berlin and Vienna, where he succeeded Gustav Mahler as Director of the Imperial Opera. Despite his demanding career as a conductor, Weingartner, like Mahler, thought of himself equally as a composer and devoted considerable time to composition. He wrote several symphonies, numerous operas, some instrumental concertos, and a considerable amount of chamber music, including four string quartets, a piano sextet and a string quintet. Additionally he wrote a great number of vocal works and instrumental sonatas. Though many of his works originally achieved a fair amount acclaim, they quickly disappeared from the concert stage. It is only in the past few years that their excellence has been rediscovered.

Weingartner's style shows the influence of Wagner and combines late Romanticism with early Modernism. It can be said to share a great deal in common with such contemporaries as Richard Strauss and Mahler. Here is a first rate quartet, written in a very original idiom from a rare, but important transitional era. Out of print for many years, we hope professionals and amateurs alike will make its acquaintance.

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Felix Weingartner, String Quartet No.4 in D Major, Op.62

Felix Weingartner Felix Weingartner (1863-1942) was born in Zara, Dalmatia, today's Zadar, Croatia, to Austrian parents. In 1883, he went to the Leipzig Conservatory where he studied composition with Carl Reinecke. He also studied privately with Franz Liszt in Weimar. Weingartner was one of the most famous and successful conductors of his time, holding positions in Hamburg, Mannheim, Danzig, Munich, Berlin and Vienna, where he succeeded Gustav Mahler as Director of the Imperial Opera. Despite his demanding career as a conductor, Weingartner, like Mahler, thought of himself equally as a composer and devoted considerable time to composition. He wrote several symphonies, numerous operas, some instrumental concertos, and a considerable amount of chamber music, including four string quartets, a piano sextet and a string quintet. Additionally he wrote a great number of vocal works and instrumental sonatas. Though many of his works originally achieved a fair amount acclaim, they quickly disappeared from the concert stage. It is only in the past few years that their excellence has been rediscovered.

Weingartner’s first three string quartets were composed and published within a few years of each other. The Third String Quartetwas finished in 1903. Fifteen years and a World War separate that work from String Quartet No.4 , which appeared in 1918. Nonetheless, this quartet shows many of the same characteristics of the preceding ones. Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Chamber Music Handbook has this to say:

"The main theme of the opening movement, Allegro grazioso, is dominated by its rhythmic figures while the charming and playful second theme is quite catchy and reminds one of something that could have been used in a cowboy Western movie. The following Elegy, Andante con poco moto, is everything that such a movement should be—emotive, somewhat sad and reflective, the writing is superb. The third movement, Allegro vivo, bursts forth impetuosity. Weingartner compliments his compelling rhythmic writing very effective use of both pizzicato and ponticello. A highly chromatic and somewhat wayward trio section provides good contrast., serves as a scherzo. The trio makes a strong impression and contrast with its warm melody. The finale, Vivace assai, both in spirit and tonality has a rather classical aura to it. It sounds what Mozart might have written had he been living in the first decade of the 20th century, combining clever playfulness with lovely melody.”

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Enrique Fernandez Arbós, Tres Piezas Originales en Estilo Español, Op.1

Enrique Fernández Arbós Enrique Fernández Arbós (1863-1939) originally made his name as a virtuoso violinist and later as one of Spain’s greatest conductors. After studying violin in Madrid, he continued his studies in Brussels under Henri Vieuxtemps and later in Berlin under Joseph Joachim. He enjoyed a considerable solo career but was also engaged as concertmaster of several orchestras including those of Berlin, Boston and Glasgow. In 1904, he was offered the position of principal conductor of the Madrid Symphony, a position he held for nearly 35 years.

Arbós emphasized that his Tres Piezas Originales en Estilo Español, Op.1 (three pieces in the Spanish style) were original, meaning they were of his own creation and not taken from Spanish folklore. Although the music is highly stylized and perhaps approaches the archetypical, it is more than salon music. The work dates from the late 1880’s during which time he was still in Germany. Although the official title is “Three Pieces”, Arbós usually referred to the work as the Spanish Trio.

The first piece or movement is marked Bolero. Remove any thoughts you may have of Ravel because there is nothing here sounding like that except the quick rhythmic drum-beat triplets used as the back drop. Lively and formal, yet romantic, the music is captivating from first note to last, a real show piece, which like the other two movements, could stand on its own. This is followed by an atmospheric and moody Habanera. The dramatic dance follows the typical rhythmic pattern we have to come expect, especially after Carmen, from this kind of dance. But the slower middle section has some very interesting chromatic piano writing and other passages in the strings which create a new kind of Habenera out of the famous old standard. The deeply Spanish finale, Seguidillas gitanas, (Gypsy songs) begins classically as you might expect. Long-lined lyrical melodies in the strings are accompanied by perky angular rhythms in the piano. This joyful music makes you want to dance.

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Edouard Destenay, Trio in b minor for Clarinet, Oboe and Piano, Op.27

Edouard Destenay (1850-1924) was born in the Algerian capital of Algiers. We know very little about his life. It is somewhat surprising, given that he was a Knight of the Légion d' Honneur and a Committee member of the French musicians, that even French sources have little to say about him. We know that he moved to Paris, where he studied music with Claudius Blanc and that he spent the rest of his life in France. He mainly composed music for strings and orchestra and his Romantic Symphony for piano and orchestra was popular and performed regularly for a number of years.

His Trio in b minor, Op.27 dates from 1906 and is in three movements. It combines elements of German romanticism with the musical language of Saint-Saëns and Gounod. The opening Allegro vivace is exciting and full of wonderful exchanges between the voices. This is followed by a highly melodic and very lyrical Andante. The delightful finale, Presto, is tightly written and full of appeal.

This very appealing work will not only triumph in the concert hall but will be a great treat for amateurs as well.

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Friedrich Kiel, Piano Quintet No.2 in c minor, Op.76

Friedrich Kiel Friedrich Kiel (1821-1885), who was generally regarded the best composition teacher in Germany from about 1870 until his untimely death, wrote chamber music of which the famous critic Wilhelm Altmann wrote, “He produced a number of chamber works, which...need fear no comparison.” Thus it should come as no surprise that Friedrich Kiel's two piano quintets are as fine as any written in the 19th century--including those of Brahms and Dvořák. They are magnificent works and it is unpardonable that they are not known and have not taken a place in the standard repertoire for this combination. We are very pleased to make these outstanding works available to the public once again.

Kiel was taught the rudiments of music and received his first piano lessons from his father but was in large part self-taught. Something of a prodigy, he played the piano almost without instruction at the age of six, and by his thirteenth year he had composed much music. Kiel eventually won a scholarship which allowed him to study in Berlin with the renowned theorist and teacher Siefried Dehn. By 1866, Kiel obtained a teaching position at the prestigious Stern Conservatory and was elevated to a professorship three years later. In 1870 he joined the faculty of the newly founded Hochschule für Musik which was shortly thereafter considered one of the finest music schools in Germany. Among his many students were Noskowski, Paderewski and Stanford. Kiel's hobby was mountaineering and at age 60--two years before his tragic death as the result of a traffic accident--he climbed Europe's second highest peak, Monte Rosa.

Kiel's Second Piano Quintet, in five movements, was written immediately after the first and was published at the same time. The first movement, Allegro maestoso, begins with a mysterious introduction and moves through several keys but is quickly overshadowed by the expansive and rich second theme. Next comes a simple but beautiful Arioso. The middle section consists of a very attractive waywardly, longing episode. The third movement, an Intermezzo, uses the Mendelssohnian title and to an extent the language but it is really a scherzo. Next is a longish introduction, an Andante, which prepares the way for the finale, Rondo which opens as a lively moto perpetuo. The middle section is a lyrical melody. Here is another superb work deserving of regular performance.

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Friedrich Kiel, Piano Quintet No.1 in A Major, Op.75

Friedrich Kiel Friedrich Kiel's two piano quintets are as fine as any written in the 19th century--including those of Brahms and Dvořák. They are magnificent works and it is unpardonable that they are not known and have not taken a place in the standard repertoire for this combination. We are very pleased to make these outstanding works available to the public once again.

Writing of the chamber music of Friedrich Kiel (1821-1885), Wilhelm Altmann—perhaps the greatest of chamber music critics—notes that it was Kiel’s extreme modesty which kept him and his exceptional works from receiving the consideration they deserved. And what consideration did Altmann feel these works deserved? After mentioning Brahms and others, Altmann writes, “He produced a number of chamber works, which...need fear no comparison.” Altmann, himself, said that he found in Kiel’s chamber music a “never ending source of delight.” That his works remained relatively unknown was due mostly to his modesty but also, Altmann explains, to the high cost of the original editions.

Kiel was taught the rudiments of music and received his first piano lessons from his father but was in large part self-taught. Something of a prodigy, he played the piano almost without instruction at the age of six, and by his thirteenth year he had composed much music. Kiel eventually won a scholarship which allowed him to study in Berlin with the renowned theorist and teacher Siefried Dehn. By 1866, Kiel obtained a teaching position at the prestigious Stern Conservatory and was elevated to a professorship three years later. In 1870 he joined the faculty of the newly founded Hochschule für Musik which was shortly thereafter considered one of the finest music schools in Germany. Among his many students were Noskowski, Paderewski and Stanford. Kiel's hobby was mountaineering and at age 60--two years before his tragic death as the result of a traffic accident--he climbed Europe's second highest peak, Monte Rosa.

Kiel's First Piano Quintet, in five movements, dates from 1873-4. It is a large genial affair full of wonderful melodies and original ideas and effects. The first movement, Allegro moderato ma con spirito, opens in the lower voices with distant echoes of Mendelssohn. The rich and darkly hued development section has writing as fine as Brahms' best. The second movement though marked Allegro molto, is a deliberate and moderate tempo intermezzo with a gorgeous interplay of strings and piano. The highly romantic third movement, Adagio con espressione, is a movement of modest length no doubt because Kiel recognized the aura created by the intense beauty of the melody would be dissipated if it continued on too long. At this point, Kiel inserts an extra movement, Tempo di Menuetto, which shows him thinking almost along the older serenade type works of more than four movements. As the minuet begins, it is entrusted entirely to the piano playing solo. It has a calm, veiled quality to it. The superb and exciting finale, Allegro, bubbles over with a fecundity of melody. The sure touch of a master composer is everywhere in evidence.

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