Piano Quartet No.1 in g minor, Op.15
Robert Fuchs (1847-1927) was born near the Styrian capital of Graz and attended the University of Vienna Conservatory studying with Otto Dessoff and Joseph Hellmesberger. By 1875, he himself was teaching at the Conservatory, eventually rising to the rank of Professor of Composition. He was one of the most famous and revered teachers of his time. Mahler, Sibelius, Hugo Wolf, Franz Schmidt, Alexander Zemlinsky, Franz Schrecker and Richard Heuberger were among his many students. The entry in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music has this to say about Robert Fuchs:
"Fuchs was an extremely refined and cultured composer. He stood high in favor with Brahms who continually gave him warm recommendations to publishers. Together with excellent technical equipment, he possessed the gift for writing charming melodies."
That his compositions did not become better known was largely due to the fact that he did little to promote them, living a quiet life in Vienna and refusing to arrange concerts, even when the opportunity arose, in other cities. He certainly had his admirers, including many famous conductors such as Arthur Nikisch, Felix Weingartner and Hans Richter, who championed his works when they had the opportunity.
Fuchs wrote two piano quartets. The first dates from 1876 at a time when Fuchs was establishing his own style. The first movement, Allegro moderato, begins with a dark and elegiac melody reminiscent of Schubert. The rhythm plays an important role in the development of the theme. The second subject, first introduced by the violin partially lightens the mood. A lively scherzo, Allegretto quasi allegro, comes next. The calm trio section provides excellent contrast. The work's center of gravity is the chorale-like Adagio. The huge finale, Allegro molto, has several highly effective episodes of tension and technical fireworks.
Here is a work that will certainly be a success in the concert hall but will give amateurs much enjoyment as well. Out of print for over a century, we are pleased to make it available once again