Franz Berwald

Franz Berwald (1796-1868)

Nationality: Swedish
Born: July 23, 1796, Stockholm Died: April 3, 1868, Stockholm (age 71)

Piano Quintet No. 1 in c minor

(for 2 violins, viola, cello and piano)
7:04 I. Allegro molto
8:15 II. Adagio - quasi andante
9:30 III. Allegro assai con spirito
Duration: 25 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1853 (age 56-57)
Published: 1856 (age 59-60)
2 recordings, 4 videos
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Bengt-Åke Lundin, Uppsala Chamber Soloists
I. Allegro molto
Bengt-Åke Lundin, Uppsala Chamber Soloists
II. Adagio - quasi andante
Bengt-Åke Lundin, Uppsala Chamber Soloists
III. Allegro assai con spirito
Berwald Quartet, Stefan Lindgren
From Edition Silvertrust

Franz Berwald Sometime during the 1850’s, a German music critic is reputed to have asked Franz Berwald (1796-1868) if he was still a composer. Berwald stared at him coldly and replied, “No, I am a glass blower.” This was neither a joke nor a sarcastic put-down of the critic by a bitter man whose music had been spurned in his own country and whose career in music had met with failure after failure. Berwald had in fact, at that time, actually been a glass blower! He had become involved with this successful business, and not his first, in order to make a living, something he could not do as a musician. Liszt, whom Berwald befriended in the 1850’s, told him, “You have true originality, but you will not be a success in your own lifetime.” Sadly, this prediction proved true. Berwald’s music remained unplayed and for the most part—especially in his native Sweden—unappreciated. Finally, after more than a century and half after his death, he has been hailed by critics all over the world as a great Swedish composer. Born in Stockholm in 1796, Berwald was taught the violin by his father, a German who had settled in Sweden and was a member of the court orchestra. Berwald followed in his father's footsteps.

His Piano Quintet No.1 in c minor, Op.5 dates from 1853. Obviously, the opus number bears no relationship to reality. It could hardly have been only his fifth work, given that he was 57 at the time. The Quintet's first movement, Allegro molto, begins in dramatic and urgent fashion with an oddly slow scherzo middle section. The second movement, is a tender Adagio quasi andante. The finale, Allegro assai e con spirito, is the most effective, full of power and forward drive.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Related Composers

1800 1900 WWI Johan Fredrik Berwald (1787-1861) Franz Berwald (1796-1868) Adolf Lindblad (1801-1878) Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Ludvig Norman (1831-1885) August Söderman (1832-1876) Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) Carl Nielsen (1865-1931) Tor Aulin (1866-1914) Wilhelm Peterson-Berger (1867-1942) Wilhelm Stenhammar (1871-1927)
Johan Fredrik Berwald (1787-1861)
Nationality: Swedish
Born: December 4, 1787, Stockholm Died: August 26, 1861, Stockholm (age 73)