Piano Quartet in No.2 D Major, Op.272
Listen to Carl Reinecke's Piano Quartet in D Major and you will hear the energy and buoyancy of youth. Yet, though it is hard to believe, Reinecke was 80 years old when he penned it.
Nowadays, Carl Reinecke (1810-1924) has been all but forgotten, an unjust fate for a man who excelled in virtually every musical field with which he was involved. Widely considered one of the finest concert pianists before the public for more than 30 years, his contemporaries also held him high regard as a composer. If this were not enough, he was a stellar conductor, who turned the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra into the leading orchestra of its day. Director of the famed Leipzig Conservatory, as a teacher of composition and of piano, he was considered to have few if any equals. Among his many students were Grieg, Bruch, Janacek, Albeniz, Sinding, Svendsen, Reznicek, Delius, Arthur Sullivan, George Chadwick, Ethel Smyth, Felix Weingartner, Karl Muck and Hugo Riemann. In his time, Reinecke and his music were unquestionably regarded as first rate.
Reinecke was born near Hamburg in the town of Altona, then in the possession of Denmark. Most of his musical training was obtained from his father, a respected teacher and author. Mendelssohn, Schumann and Liszt all were favorably impressed by him. Unlike many of his contemporaries, or even some of those composers who were younger such as Bruch, Reinecke was able to move beyond the music of Mendelssohn and Schumann, the musical idols of the mid 19 Century.
The Piano Quartet dates from 1904. Much of Reinecke’s late chamber music, written while he was in his 80’s, is truly extraordinary in its power and vision. In the Op.272, he set himself a different goal, subtitling the work “in the lighter style”. His goal was to produce a concise work which did not require virtuoso players and could be handled comfortably by amateurs, but which above all would hold its own as music. The full-blooded and romantic opening Allegro harks back to a post-Schumann style that nonetheless predates late Brahms. The following Scherzo moderato with its very lyrical trio is quite original. A gorgeous, reflective and pastoral Adagio comes next. The genial finale, Rondo allegretto, while not full of passion, is nonetheless charming and effective. Reinecke succeeds entirely in achieving his goal. A perfect little gem.
This fine work belongs in the concert hall and also on the stands of home music makers. Long out of print, we are very pleased to be able to make this fine work available again.