Piano Quartet in e minor, Op. 11
"Fibich's Piano Quartet is written with a profound knowledge of technique indispensable for chamber music. Upon publication, it won praise from every quarter. It is remarkable for its power and richness of invention as well as for the closely woven character of the ensemble, there being only five themes in the entire work. The first movement, Allegro moderato, is built on two lyrical themes. The second movement, Thema con variazione, has but one with eight ingenious variations that follow. The finale, Allegro energico, has two of its own, but all five are repeated toward the end of the work."
So wrote the well respected chamber music critic, Josef Bartos, in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber music.
If reputation could be likened to a horse race, then in the “19th Century Czech Composer’s Derby” Antonin Dvorak would cross the finish line several lengths ahead of his nearest rival, Bedrich Smetana, and then, after an even greater distance, would come Zdenek Fibich, far behind in third place. But reputation must not be confused with quality. Fibich (1850-1900) is no third rate composer. His music is of very high quality, and totally undeserving of the near obscurity into which it has fallen.
Fibich, in contrast to either Dvorak or Smetana, was the product of two cultures, German and Czech. He had been given a true bi-cultural education. And during his formative early years, he had lived in Germany, France and Austria in addition to his native Bohemia. He was perfectly fluent in German as well as Czech. All of these factors were important in shaping his outlook and approach to composition. In his instrumental works, Fibich generally wrote in the vein of the German romantics, first falling under the influence of Weber, Mendelssohn and Schumann and later Wagner. It seems, that like Tchaikovsky, Fibich did not wish to write music that merely sounded nationalistic. And therein lies the reason that Fibich has never been held in the same regard by his countrymen as either Dvorak and Smetana or even Janacek. Yet Fibich was the first of any Czech composer to use native Czech folk melody in his works and these melodies, though not as pronounced as in Dvorak's, nonetheless can be heard in most of his works.
This fine work, unfortunately has been unavailable for many years and we are pleased to bring it back to the attention of professionals and amateurs alike.