Piano Quartet in c minor, Op.84
Kirchner (1823-1903) was born in the town of Neukirchen near Chemnitz in the German province of Saxony. He showed a prodigious musical talent at an early age, however, his father was reluctant to let him study music. It was only after hearing both Schumann and Mendelssohn highly praise his sonís talent that he permitted Theodor to attend the Leipzig Conservatory, where he studied with Mendelssohn, among others. It was upon Mendelssohnís recommendation that Kirchner in 1843 obtained his first position as organist of the main church in Winterthur in Switzerland. He was a friend of both Robert and Clara Schumann as well as Brahms. Kirchnerís compositional talent was widely respected and held in the highest regard by Schumann, Brahms, Liszt, Wagner and many others. Kirchner found that he was especially good at writing writing miniatures. He would often write several at a time and then publish them together, each with a different mood and feel and each perfect in its own way. Hence, he generally did not devote himself to writing longer works, however, this Piano Quartet is one.
Despite the fact that the Piano Quartet is a late work, dating from 1888 when Kirchner was 65, there is great vitality and freshness about it. The opening movement, Maestoso, Allegro molto, begins with a heavy fanfare-like introduction and then leads to the dramatic main sections. The second movement, Poco adagio is a highly expressive "song without words." This is followed by a highly rhythmic and accented Allegro which serves as a scherzo. The lovely and lyrical trio section is entrusted to the strings over a flowing piano accompaniment. The finale, Animato, begins is a subdued fashion and has a mazurka-like quality reminiscent of Chopin. But quickly things change as pounding scale passages create a sense of urgency.
His is another fine romantic-era work which will give pleasure to its players. Long out of print, we are pleased to make it available once again.