Piano Quartet No.2 in F Major, Op.18
"Ebenezer Prout's Piano Quartet No.2 in F Major, Op.18 dates from 1883 and is very well written...Its many fine qualities—–appealing melodies, technical ease of performance—–should win it friends especially in amateur circles. The opening movement, Allegro moderato, easily captures the listener’s attention. The second movement, Andante con moto, is a warm folk-like theme followed by four short variations, the last which is a well executed fugue. A genial Tempo di Menuetto with a charming, contrasting trio comes next. The highly effective finale, Allegro vivace, makes for an entirely satisfying conclusion."---The Silvertrust Guide to Piano Quartets.
Ebenezer Prout (1839-1909) was born in the English town of Oundle. He studied piano under Charles Salaman, but was otherwise self-taught. He attended the University of London intended for a career as a scholar, but chose to follow one in music through his love of it. He worked as an organist, music critic, and composer, eventually becoming a Professor of Composition at the Royal Academy of Music in London as well as a number of other schools. Several of his chamber music works were awarded first prizes in various competitions. His works on music theory became classics and were translated into many languages. Among Prout's students were Eugen d'Albert and Edward German. While alive, his chamber music was quite popular and often performed, but after his death, he was criticized for lack of originality in that his works showed the heavy influence of Mendelssohn and Schumann, composers who were, at the time, very popular in England. While it is true that one can often hear the influence of Mendelssohn or Schumann, his music is not imitative, and in any event this would not have harmed his reputation had he been a German. Most importantly, it cannot take away from the fact that much of his music is very attractive, fun to play and good to hear.
Fresh and original, this fine work has long been out of print. We are pleased to make it available once more and hope that it will win friends among players and listeners.