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Friedrich Kuhlau

Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832)

Nationality: German | Danish
Born: September 11, 1786, Uelzen Died: March 12, 1832, Copenhagen (age 45)

Piano Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 50

(for violin, viola, cello and piano)
16:39 I. Allegro
8:07 II. Adagio ma non troppo
5:43 III. Scherzo. Presto - Trio
5:59 IV. Finale. Allegro di molto
Duration: 32 minutes (approximately)
Published: 1823 (age 36-37)
2 recordings, 8 videos
autoopen autoplay
18:47
Copenhagen Piano Quartet
I. Allegro
8:02
Copenhagen Piano Quartet
II. Adagio ma non troppo
5:52
Copenhagen Piano Quartet
III. Scherzo. Presto - Trio
6:12
Copenhagen Piano Quartet
IV. Finale. Allegro di molto
13:10
Elisabeth Westenholz, Tutter Givskov, Lars Grunth, Asger Lund Christiansen
I. Allegro
8:11
Elisabeth Westenholz, Tutter Givskov, Lars Grunth, Asger Lund Christiansen
II. Adagio ma non troppo
5:34
Elisabeth Westenholz, Tutter Givskov, Lars Grunth, Asger Lund Christiansen
III. Scherzo. Presto - Trio
5:45
Elisabeth Westenholz, Tutter Givskov, Lars Grunth, Asger Lund Christiansen
IV. Finale. Allegro di molto
From Edition Silvertrust

Friedrich Kuhlau Friedrich Kuhlau's Piano Quartet No.2 in A Major was written two years after the first and at the conclusion of four months of study in Vienna. It seems that, both in form and style, this quartet shows the marked influence of the Vienna Classics, especially Schubert. In four movements, it begins with an Allegro which showcases the piano rather more than the earlier work although the writing is still quite good for the strings. The movement starts off sounding rather classical but quickly switches into a dramatic, Romantic idiom. The Adagio is strikingly beautiful, filled with Schubertian perfume. The rhythmically driving Scherzo, it must be said, anticipates what Schubert did in his piano trios. The short and contrasting trio section with its use of a Lãndler also foreshadows what the Viennese master was later to do in his most mature works. The finale, Allegro di molto flits along lightly at a very good clip, again scale passages are featured prominently. It is a strong, concise and effective last movement.

Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832), often called the “Beethoven of the Flute”, is well-known to flute players, if few others, for the many fine pieces that he composed for that instrument. Though it is generally assumed, by those who have heard of him, that he was a flute virtuoso, ironically, he never played the instrument. Born in Germany, after being blinded in one eye in a freak street accident, he studied piano in Hamburg. In 1810, he fled to Copenhagen to avoid conscription in the Napoleonic Army, which overwhelmed the many small principalities and duchies of northern Germany, and in 1813 he became a Danish citizen. Outside of several lengthy trips which he took, he resided there until his death. During his lifetime, he was known primarily as a concert pianist and composer of Danish opera, but was responsible for introducing many of Beethoven’s works, which he greatly admired, to Copenhagen audiences. Considering that his house burned down destroying all of his unpublished manuscripts, he was a prolific composer leaving more than 200 published works in most genres.

Beethoven, whom Kuhlau knew personally, exerted the greatest influence upon his music. Interestingly, few of Beethoven’s contemporaries showed greater understanding or ability to assimilate what the great man was doing than Kuhlau. Certainly with regard to form, Kuhlau was clearly able to make sense and use what Beethoven was doing in something as advanced as his Middle Period. Thus, for those encountering his chamber music for the first time, there is always a surprise at how fine the music is structurally and also how well he handles the instruments. Beyond this, he definitely had, like Mozart, Schubert or Hummel, a gift for wonderful melodies which bubble forth from his music effortlessly.

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


Related Composers

1800 Joseph Haydn (1732-1809) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Johann Hummel (1778-1837) Friedrich Kuhlau (1786-1832) Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
friend, colleague
Nationality: German
Baptized: December 17, 1770, Bonn Died: March 26, 1827, Vienna (age 56)