Piano Quintet in a minor, Op.50
Henry Hadley (1871-1937) was born in Somerville, Massachusetts, just outside of Boston. He studied violin and harmony, and from the age of fourteen, he took composition lessons from the prominent American composer George Whitefield Chadwick, who had been a student of the world renowned Carl Reinecke at the Leipzig Conservatory. He continued these studies with the famous composition teacher, Eusebius Mandyczewski in Vienna and Ludwig Thuille in Munich. During his career, he served as conductor of several American orchestras including those of Seattle, San Francisco and New York. During the last decades of his life, he traveled extensively, guest conducting all over the world. Throughout his life he composed.
Hadley was one of the most performed and published American composers of his day. His music was immensely popular, and was a regular part of the repertory of both American and European orchestras, being performed by such luminaries as Gustav Mahler, Leopold Stokowski, Serge Koussevitzky, and Karl Muck. Although Hadley considered himself first and foremost an orchestral composer, he also composed operas and chamber music.
His Piano Quintet in a minor, Op.50 dates from 1919. In four movements, the work opens with a big thrusting Allegro energico where vigorous themes are interspersed with more languid subjects. The music breathes the spirit of American optimism and can do idealism. An atmospheric slow movement, Andante, follows. There is a quiet murmuring quality to it. A short, capricious Scherzo, Allegro giocoso, separates the Andante from the robust finale, Allegro con brio. The music is powerful while at the same time expressing a sense of yearning and is filled with many wonderful expressive thematic contrasts.
Out of print for many years now, we are pleased to reintroduce a fine American piano quintet from the first part of the 20th century. We feel this quintet should appeal to both amateurs and professionals alike.