Symphonic Piano Quintet in g minor, Op.44
“Joseph Holbrooke's Symphonic Quintet in g minor, Op 44, dates from 1904. One might conclude from the title Holbrooke gave the quintet that he did not really intend it to be chamber music and though there is quite a lot about the music which is orchestral in nature, when all is said and done, one must admit that this is an extraordinary chamber music work, This is especially true of the superb string writing and sparkling piano part of the first movement, Allegro molto fuoco, agitato. Riveting and wonderful, it does at times sound like the first movement of a symphony. The second movement, Andante molto espressione e sostenuto is lyrical and romantic. Though quiet, the string writing nonetheless manages to sound symphonic. The quintet is often known as The Diabolique from the short third movement, the Valse diabolique, which is marked Valse grazioso, a direction that seems to belie its title. There is nothing very devilish about this elegant, rather fast stylish waltz. One can imagine it accompanying a Noel Coward musical from the 1920’s. The finale, Poco vivo, has much the same mood quality of the third movement, upbeat, modern and a little frenetic. This is a highly original work. There is not much like it. One feels that Holbrooke has succeeded magnificently in creating a ‘symphonic’ chamber work. An absolute must for the concert hall and technically accomplished amateurs will also find it well worthwhile."---The Silvertrust Guide to the Piano Quintet Literature.
Joseph Holbrooke (1878-1958) born near London in the town of Croydon. Both his parents were musicians and his early lessons were with his father. He was sent to the Royal Academy of Music in London and after graduating worked as a pianist and conductor, all the while composing. Eventually his big works for orchestra and chorus and his operas brought him considerable fame, however, after the First World War, he and his works fell into obscurity. He composed a considerable amount of chamber music, most of which is of a high quality and awaits rediscovery.
Unavailable for decades, we are very pleased to make it available once again.