Piano Quintet in f# minor
Reynaldo Hahn (1875-1947) today is primarily remembered as a composer of the operetta Ciboulette, but he did devote a fair amount attention to composing chamber music. Born in Venezuela, Hahnís family moved to Paris when he was three. He studied at the Conservatory under Massenet who considered him a genius. Handsome and worldly, Hahn drew his friends from a much wider circle than other musicians, for example Marcel Proust and Sarah Bernhardt, and was greatly interested in the literary scene as well as the theater. Having a gifted voice and being an excellent pianist, Hahn needed no assistant for vocal concert evening. He was also a deft conductor who eventually directed the Paris Opera.
His Piano Quintet in f# minor dates from 1921. The big and highly dramatic opening movement of the three movement Quintet, Molto agiatato e con fuoco is, in a word, brilliant. How could music this attractive and exciting land in oblivion? In the moody, pensive and beautiful Andante non troppo lento, the merest whiff of Faure can occasionally be heard. Toward the end, a lovely vocal melody, briefly, like the sun pushing through heavy clouds, lightens the mood. The thematic material of finale, Allegretto grazioso is elegant and genteel and has an almost neo-rococo feel to it. The middle has a slighly more buoyant rondo and the coda slowly builds momentum to a very satisfying conclusion.
This is a superb work which we are pleased to revive, hoping it will be enjoyed by both amateurs and professionals.