Piano Quartet in e minor, Op.43
Writing of Hurlstone's Piano Quartet, the highly respected British music critic R.H. Walthew has this to say
"The Piano Quartet is Hurlstone's most elaborately written chamber work and certainly one of his finest. The first movement, Allegro moderato, begins with a highly striking main theme given out in octaves. The slow movement, Andante cantabile, is simple and flowing with a charming principal melody while the second theme receives a masterly treatment. A scherzo, Vivace, ma non troppo, moves along with fine swing and the trio has a Scottish flavor. The finale, Lento, ma non troppo-Allegro giocoso, begins with an introduction founded on the opening theme of the first movement. The cheerful main section (our soundbite begins here) has a tinge of Brahmsian color it."
William Yeates Hurlstone (1876-1906) was born in London and at an early age he showed great interest in music and soon played the piano brilliantly. Unfortunately his activities were hampered by bronchial asthma, from which he suffered all his life. Hurlstone won a scholarship to the Royal College of Music when he was 18 and studied piano and composition, the latter with Sir Charles Stanford, who among his many brilliant students considered Hurlstone his most talented. Virtually all of his contemporaries recognized his tremendous ability and the excellence of his compositions. In 1905 at the age of 28, he was appointed Professor of Harmony and Counterpoint at the Royal College but unfortunately, less than a year later, he died.
Hurlstone was especially fond of chamber music and left behind many fine works of which the Piano Quartet, composed in the year of his death, was one. It is without doubt deserving of concert performance but should also be of interest to amateurs.