Luigi Cherubini

Luigi Cherubini (1760-1842)

Nationality: Italian
Born: September 8, 1760, Florence Died: March 15, 1842, Paris (age 81)

String Quintet in e minor

(for 2 violins, viola and 2 cellos)
I. Grave assai - Allegro comodo
II. Andante
III. Scherzo. Allegro ma non troppo
IV. Finale. Allegro
Duration: 32 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1837 (age 76-77)
Published: 1907
From Edition Silvertrust

"An inexplicably unknown masterpiece where, for once, the second cello part is every bit as good as the first cello part."

—so writes The Chamber Music Journal.

Luigi Cherubini ( 1760-1842) was born Florence. He studied at the conservatories in Bologna and Milan and remained in Italy until 1788 when he moved to Paris, where he lived for the rest of his life. He made his name as a composer of opera, but by 1805 Parisian tastes had changed and the heavy, serious operas that he, Gluck and others had been writing fell out of fashion. Cherubini then turned to religious and instrumental music. He served as director of the Paris Conservatory from 1822 until his death and was regarded as one of France's leading musicians. Beethoven considered Cherubini the greatest living dramatic composer, while Cherubini was perhaps the only important composer in France, who held Beethoven to be the greatest genius of the day. Perhaps no other contemporary composer studied Beethoven's Middle and Late Quartets as did Cherubini, who both admired and understood them.

The great chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann has describes the Quintet thus:

"Cherubini's String Quintet, composed in 1837 but first published in 1890, is surprisingly fresh and original and as good as his best string quartets. The thematic work is superb. The work begins with a slow, suspenseful, unisono introduction, Grave assai, which is followed by an exciting Allegro comodo. The main theme of this Allegro is a catchy Italian opera melody. The following Andante has for its main theme a melody which is at once simple but also deeply felt. Variations follow. Next comes a lively and piquant Scherzo where in the rhythmic triplet figures dominate the proceedings. The muted trio section is particularly fine. The exciting finale, Allegro, is dominated by its thrilling main theme which is expertly developed and appears in several different appealing guises. This work is a must for both amateurs and professionals."

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

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Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga (1806-1826)
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