Piano Quintet No.2 in E Major, Op.31
For Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass and Piano
"Louise Farrenc's Piano Quintet No.2 in E Major came about as a result of the critical success of her first piano quintet, Op.30, for the same combination of instruments. Her husband, a music publisher, encouraged her to write another which she did immediately after the premiere of the first. It begins with a short, pregnant Andante sostento introduction which slowly builds to a climax and leads to an Allegro grazioso with its relaxed and somewhat genial main theme. The second movement, Grave, begins with a baroque-sounding subject. A second melody, which appears once in the middle section, is more romantic. Next comes a very fine Vivace, and though not marked as such, it is obviously a scherzo. The opening subject is full of forward motion. The strings minus the Bass give forth the opening four bars and the piano finishes the rest of what is the first theme. Farrenc does not develop it but immediately introduces a buoyant and lyrical second subject begun by the cello. The opening measures to the short trio section sound a little like part of Schubert's Trout Quintet but the mood is quickly changed which helps to effect a an entirely unnoticeable segue back to the scherzo. The engaging finale, Allegro, begins with a short four measure fanfare in the piano which is actually half of the opening theme which at various points again recalls Schubert. The work is brought to a racing finish by the spectacular coda which passes through a series of striking modulations and ends in a flourish with an exciting chromatic run in the piano."---The Chamber Music Journal
Louise Farrenc (1804-1875) enjoyed a considerable reputation during her own lifetime as both a performer and a teacher. Her chamber music is on a par with most of her well-known male contemporaries, although unfortunately these works never achieved the renown they deserved and fell into oblivion shortly after her death. As a young girl, Farrenc, a piano prodigy, was fortunate in studying with such great masters as Ignaz Moscheles, Johann Nepomuk Hummel and Anton Reicha.
The Op.31 Piano Quintet was completed no later than 1842 and published by her husband's firm, A. Farrenc. Our new edition is based on the original which had no rehearsal letters or numbers. Our new edition has added these. This is a quintet deserves to be heard in concert and will also be enjoyed by amateur groups.