Piano Quartet in A Major, Op.30
Chausson[s Piano Quartet in A Major, Op.30 dates from 1897. The lovely opening movement, Animé, is warm and bright, sunny skies and well-being are conjured up. The second movement Très calme has a limpid, poetic quality. It is lyrical and gentle. Next comes a kind of intermezzo, Simple et sans hâte, essentially gentle and pleasant. The finale, Animê, opens in frenetic fashion, full of breathless anxiety. And here, Chausson shows he is still a bit under the influence of his old teacher Franck as themes from all of the preceding movements are given a recapitulation. There is no mistaking this work as a child of French impressionism. Of its kind, it is a very good work. It deserves to be heard in concert.
Ernest Chausson (1855-1899) was born in Paris into a wealthy family. Although he received some musical training as a boy, a career in music was never envisaged by either his father or himself. He studied law and became a barrister but realized he had no interest in the law. After dabbling in writing and painting, he decided to study music and entered the Paris Conservatory in 1879 where he studied first with Jules Massenet and later Cesar Franck. His friend Vincent d’Indy introduced him to the music of Wagner. Scholars generally divide his work into three periods, early, middle and late. His very early works tend to show the influence of Massenet. In those which come later there is also the influence of Franck and Wagner.