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Robert Schumann

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Nationality: German
Born: June 8, 1810, Zwickau, Saxony Died: July 29, 1856, Endenich, near Bonn (age 46)

Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44

(for 2 violins, viola, cello and piano)
8:27 I. Allegro brillante
8:44 II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
4:49 III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:23 IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1842, Late September to early December (age 32)
Premiere: January 8, 1843. Public premiere. Leipzig Gewandhaus, Clara Schumann, piano
Published: 1843 (age 32-33)
Dedication: Clara Schumann
16 recordings, 46 videos
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8:58
Menahem Pressler, Emerson Quartet
I. Allegro brillante
8:56
Menahem Pressler, Emerson Quartet
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
4:49
Menahem Pressler, Emerson Quartet
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:25
Menahem Pressler, Emerson Quartet
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
6:48
Schubert Ensemble
I. Allegro brillante
8:44
Schubert Ensemble
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
5:10
Schubert Ensemble
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:28
Schubert Ensemble
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
6:47
Daniil Trifonov, Ariel String Quartet
I. Allegro brillante
7:34
Daniil Trifonov, Ariel String Quartet
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
4:50
Daniil Trifonov, Ariel String Quartet
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:18
Daniil Trifonov, Ariel String Quartet
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
9:07
Martha Argerich, Dora Schwarzberg, Lucia Hall, Nobuko Imai, Mischa Maisky (score)
I. Allegro brillante
9:06
Martha Argerich, Dora Schwarzberg, Lucia Hall, Nobuko Imai, Mischa Maisky (score)
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
4:26
Martha Argerich, Dora Schwarzberg, Lucia Hall, Nobuko Imai, Mischa Maisky (score)
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:02
Martha Argerich, Dora Schwarzberg, Lucia Hall, Nobuko Imai, Mischa Maisky (score)
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
7:38
Paul Gulda, Hagen Quartet
I. Allegro brillante
9:28
Paul Gulda, Hagen Quartet
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
4:44
Paul Gulda, Hagen Quartet
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:15
Paul Gulda, Hagen Quartet
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
9:00
Maria João Pires, Augustin Dumay, Renaud Capuçon, Gérard Caussé, Jian Wang
I. Allegro brillante
9:09
Maria João Pires, Augustin Dumay, Renaud Capuçon, Gérard Caussé, Jian Wang
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
4:39
Maria João Pires, Augustin Dumay, Renaud Capuçon, Gérard Caussé, Jian Wang
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:22
Maria João Pires, Augustin Dumay, Renaud Capuçon, Gérard Caussé, Jian Wang
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
8:16
Leif Ove Andsnes, Artemis Quartet
I. Allegro brillante
7:57
Leif Ove Andsnes, Artemis Quartet
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
4:46
Leif Ove Andsnes, Artemis Quartet
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:14
Leif Ove Andsnes, Artemis Quartet
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
31:11
Zemlinksy Quartet, Gryaznov
8:37
Quintet Arts
I. Allegro brillante
8:28
Quintet Arts
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
5:06
Quintet Arts
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:16
Quintet Arts
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
31:59
Kubin Quartet, Beinhauer
30:13
Emerson Quartet, Pressler (complete)
9:28
Borodin Quartet, Richter
I. Allegro brillante
9:45
Borodin Quartet, Richter
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
5:13
Borodin Quartet, Richter
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:23
Borodin Quartet, Richter
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
29:38
Beaux Arts Trio
29:28
Bartók Quartet, Fischer
9:07
Argerich, et. al.
I. Allegro brillante
9:07
Argerich, et. al.
II. In modo d'una marcia: Un poco largamente - Agitato
4:26
Argerich, et. al.
III. Scherzo: Molto vivace - Trio I - Trio II - Coda
7:15
Argerich, et. al.
IV. Allegro, ma non troppo
30:27
Andreev, et. al.
From Kai Christiansen

Robert Schumann (1810-1856)

Piano Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 44 (1842)

Robert Schumann Robert Schumann is one of the quintessential Romantic figures of the 19th century as even a thumbnail sketch of his life vividly illustrates. He grew up with twin loves for literature and music and became a great composer as well as a great literary figure, one of the most esteemed and insightful musical commentators of his time. He fell passionately in love with Clara and fought a two-year legal battle against her father to win her hand in marriage. Subsequently, Schumann systematically, if not almost manically, attacked the great genres of music and composed, in concentrated fits, piano works, art songs, symphonies and chamber music amassing a formidable catalog of masterworks before his incipient madness set in. Schumann struggled with nervous disorders that eventually erupted into aural hallucinations, depression and a suicide attempt resulting in institutional confinement where he languished for two years before dying, unable to see Clara until his very last day. Literature, music, love and madness make for a rather fantastic life story, but what remains for us is Schumann's incredible music.

The Piano Quintet in E-Flat, Op. 44 comes from Schumann’s “year of chamber music” where, in 1842, he composed string quartets, piano trios, a piano quartet and broke ground on an essentially new ensemble for string quartet and piano, the most powerful combination of instruments in all of chamber music. This is not only Schumann’s greatest chamber music work, it is one of the greatest chamber works of all time, of such majesty and artistry that it reigns supreme on any concert program. Its epic four-movement design includes an expansive, large first-movement sonata, a powerfully dark slow movement based on a funeral march with a Schubertian gravity, a rollicking scherzo with two trios and a mighty, contrapuntal finale.

Chief among many of its fascinating aspects worth mentioning is its use of “recall” creating what is called a “cyclic” form. The bold opening theme in the first movement reappears in the last movement in an apotheosis of dramatic development as it combines in countermelody with the finale’s own theme in a magisterial fugue recalling a tradition of high musical triumph going back through Mendelssohn, Beethoven and Mozart to J. S. Bach. The piano writing itself is on a high order of achievement and virtuosity and the public premiere would feature none other than supreme pianist Clara Schumann to whom Robert dedicated the quintet. Inaugurating a new ensemble/genre of chamber music, Schumann’s piano quintet greatly influenced subsequent epics by such composers as Brahms, Dvořák, Franck, Dohnányi and Shostakovich among the most noteworthy.

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Ludvig Norman (1831-1885)
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