Rhapsodie in A Major for Piano Quartet
Joseph Marx (1882-1964) was born in Austrian provincial capital of Graz. He studied violin, cello and piano at Grazís Buwa's Music School and then attended Graz University where he took degrees in philosophy and art history, all the while composing music. In the realm of composition, he was largely self-taught. Most of his compositions at this time were art songs, or Lieder, and gained him a wide audience, so much so, that he was hailed the successor to Schubert, and Hugo Wolf as a song composer. On the strength of these works, he obtained the position of professor of theory at the Vienna Music Academy (Hochschule fur Musik) and later served as its rector. He also was an adviser to the Turkish government in laying the foundations of a conservatory in Ankara.
Marx's music drew from many sources. He could be called a late romantic impressionist. Although one can hear certain affinities with the music of Debussy, Scriabin, Delius, Ravel, Respighi, Jongen, Richard Strauss, Reger, Korngold, Brahms, Mahler and Bruckner, his sound is nonetheless his own.
In 1911, at the age of 29, just about the time he finished writing most of his Lieder, he composed three substantial works for Piano Quartet: Rhapsodie, Scherzo and Ballade. Although one might conclude from the titles that these works would be on a modest scale, this is not the case. They are full blown and equal in length to any so-called standard three or four movement work. The largest of these works is the Rhapsodie in A Major which draws together four inextricably bonded movements to create a magnificent edifice that flows organically from one movement to the next seamlessly. There are seemingly never ending lyrical episodes that constantly are straining at the boundaries of chamber music and threaten to become symphonic.
We are pleased to reintroduce powerful and highly effective work, long unavailable. It truly deserves concert hall performance and should not be missed by experienced amateurs.