Clarinet Quintet in A Major, Op.19
"From Stephan Krehl, the well-known teacher and excellent composer, we have a clarinet quintet, his opus 19, which appeared in 1902. Krehl is a follower and in the tradition of Schumann and Brahms, but in no way a slavish imitator. Aficionados of fine chamber music will certainly get great enjoyment from this work. Despite certain rhythmic complexities, the quintet is certainly not beyond amateurs, who will find no great technical difficulties here. The main theme to the first movement, Moderato, is dreamy yet conveys a sense of yearning. It is followed by a very expressive second subject. The rhythmic subtleties in no way obscure the clarity of the development. Next comes a Lento, which is rather like a romanza, with its beautiful string color. A quicker section is both dramatic and effective. The third movement is in two parts. It begins as a Intermezzo in rondo form. The second section is a jovial Vivace. The finale, a theme and set of seven variations. It begins with a Lento introduction in the form of a recitative. The theme is based on a simple folk melody. These variations are beautiful and particularly fine."---Wilhelm Altmann in his Chamber Music Handbook
Stephan Krehl (1864-1924) was born in Leipzig. He first studied painting then art history and finally piano and composition with the famous teacher Johann Rischbieter, whose nickname was "counterpoint incarnate", which in no small part accounts for the excellence of his compostional technique. After completing his studies, he taught composition at the conservatories in Karlsruhe and Leipzig.
Krehl's music was of the language of the late romantics. He rejected the new directions that Bartok and Schoenberg were taking and his music, like that of so many other fine composers, disappeared from the concert stage after the First World War, when new tastes rejected romanticism and all but the most famous romantic composers such as Brahms.
Krehl's Clarinet Quintet will inevitably remind the listener of Brahms and his quintet. This is perhaps no accident as it was written for and dedicated to Richard Mühlfeld, the famous clarinetist for whom Brahms had composed his quintet, clarinet trio and sonatas. In addition, Krehl's musical aesthetic could be summed up as delicate and elegant. These qualities are in the forefront of a work which can truly be called a masterpiece without exaggeration.
Here is a clarinet quintet quintet which can rightfully take its place alongside the best. It should be heard in concert where it will make a deep impression. And amateurs should not miss the chance to experience this wonderful music.
Parts & Score: $36.95