Piano Quartet f minor, Op.10
Léon Boëllmann (1862-1897) was born in the Alsatian town of Ensisheim. He moved to Paris after the Franco-Prussian War after which Alsace became part of Germany. In Paris, he studied organ, piano and composition at the Ecole de Musique Classique, winning many honors. After graduating he worked as a teacher at the Ecole. His compositions won him considerable recognition and he almost certainly would have made a greater name for himself had he not died at the young age of 35.
His Piano Quartet, which was awarded a prize by French Société des Compositeurs, dates from 1890. In the first movement, Allegro un poco moderato, rich harmonies in the strings create an atmosphere or rich, hazy color over which the piano introduces the somewhat mysterious main theme. In Scherzo, which is full of joie de vivre, the piano's accompaniment of running arpeggios creates an exquisite background for the sunny theme in the strings. The rhapsodic, slow movement, Andante, has for its main theme a simple, flowing melody which the mood of a nocturne. The marvelous finale, Allegro, is full of unstoppable rhythmic energy.
This French masterwork is first rate from start to finish. It goes without saying that it belongs in the concert hall and will bring much pleasure those amateurs discover it. We are pleased to make it available after more than a century of being out of print. It belongs in the concert hall and will be a joy to amateurs.