Sextet for Piano & Wind Quintet, Op.45
Theodore Blumer (1881-1964) was born in the German city of Dresden. He studied at the Dresden Conservatory with Felix Draeseke and enjoyed a long career as a teacher and conductor besides working as a composer. He left works in virtually every genre. His works for for piano and woodwinds were especially important to him as they were intended for performance by himself on piano and the famous Dresden Woodwind Quintet. His Op.45 Sextet for Piano and Woodwind Quintet dates from 1921. As it states in the title, it is based on an original theme and then is a set of variations on this theme.
The theme upon which the work is based is presented by the woodwinds alone. The piano remains quiet. As if to compensate, the first variation, entitled Improvisation, is given to the piano as a solo. The second variation, Capriccio, stays quiet close in mood to the original theme. The third variation, Pastorale, is a kind of quiet chorale. This is followed by a Slavic Dance, which is of the kind Dvorak wrote, but, of course, this is an update version. Here the texture of the music becomes quiet dense, almost orchestral in quality. The fifth variation, Romance, provides a solo for the horn with support from the bassoon, over a delicate arpeggio accompaniment in the piano. Next comes a Humoresque in which the bassoon is given a chance to shine. The finale, untitled, starts as a fugue, morphs into a march and then ends with a stretto.
We also offer Ludwig Thuille's Sextet, Paul Juon's Divertimento, Albert Roussel's Divertissiment and Hans Huber's Sextet for this same instrumental combination. They make finely contrasing companion works.