Piano Quartet in c minor, Op.101
"Paul Lacombe's Piano Quartet is a work on cyclic lines, but free from any pedantic complexity. It gives an exact idea both of the creative power and of the strong, yet refined technique of the master."—–The respected critic Leon Moulin writing in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music.
Paul Lacombe (1837-1927) was born in the town of Carcassonne located in the far south of France in the province of Occitan. He began to study piano with his mother and then entered the local conservatory. Subsequently, Lacombe studied composition with Bizet for two years by means of correspondence. Through the efforts of Bizet and Lalo, both of whom admired his music, his compositions were performed in Paris. Though Lacombe's music was well appreciated among fellow composers and musicians, it never gained a widespread popularity as he was not willing to leave his hometown of Carcassonne for Paris. A prolific composer with more than 150 works, including a fair amount of chamber music, which was composed during two distinct periods. The first from the late 1860s into the mid 1870s reflects the influence of Mendelssohn and Schumann. The second period from the late 1890s through the first decade of the 20th century shows him to be au courant with the recent developments of the impressionist movement. In 1887 he was awarded Prix Chartier for his chamber music by the Académie des Beaux-Arts, of which he subsequently became a member.He was made a Chevalier of the Légion d'honneur in 1902.
The Piano Quartet in c minor dates from 1904 and was dedicated to his friend Vincent d'Indy. The opening movement is an engaging Allegro, full of yearning and a sense of striving. It is written on a large scale. Next comes a refective and somewhat introspective Lentement which is then followed by a charming Allegretto. The finale, Allegro decisio, has an upbeat, heroic quality to it and brings this very worth while piano quartet to a satisfying close.
Long out of print, this well-crafted piano quartet in eminently suited for concert performance, but amateurs also will enjoy it as there are no real technical difficulties.