Piano Quintet in e minor
Elrida Andrée's Piano Quintet would almost certainly have come to the attention of the musical public had she been a man. As it was, despite her great talent, she and her music stood very little chance.
Elfrida Andrée (1841-1929) was born in the Swedish town of Visby on the island of Gotland. The child of avid amateur musicians, she was sent at age 14 to study the organ in Stockholm. She became a virtuoso, the first woman cathedral organist, the first woman conductor and symphonist. Her composition teachers included Ludwig Norman and Niels Gade. Besides her musical work she was politically active and important in the Swedish feminist movement and became the first woman telegraphist. It should be remembered that female composers emerging in the second half of the 19th century did so against the background of the salon and as such most did not obtain a level of composition which went beyond this milieu. Andrée was but one of a very few whose music reached the highest levels of professionalism.
In three movements, this lovely Piano Quintet dates from 1865. The influence of Mendelssohn and to a lesser degree Schumann can be heard in the opening Allegro molto vivace. The main theme is muscular and thrusting while the lyrical second theme provides an excellent contrast. The following Andante maestoso is an elegy. The gorgeous but funereal main theme is very fine indeed. The development is more hopeful. In the finale, Allegro energico, we again hear the spirit of Schumann in the triumphant opening bars, but here the melodic inspiration is better his. The second theme almost turns the movement into a Romanza.
Long out of print and unavailable, we are pleased to reintroduce it once again. Amateurs will certainly appreciate the fact that this fine work presents no real technical difficulties.