Piano Quintet in b minor, Op.74
For Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello & Bass (Trout Instrumentation)
Your group has just finished playing the Schubert Trout Quintet for piano, violin, viola, cello and bass. Now what? What else is there? One of the answers to this question is the Piano Quintet in b minor, Op.74 by Ferdinand Ries.
Today, Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) is primarily remembered as a friend and student of Beethoven, as well as his first biographer. However, during his lifetime and for much of the 19 century Ries was remembered as a fine composer and virtuoso pianist. He showed musical promise from an early age, studying both violin and piano with his father, and the cello with Bernhard Romberg. In 1801, he went to Vienna to study with Beethoven. He studied piano and composition with him for nearly 5 years. Thereafter Ries concertized throughout Europe for a number of years before settling in London and then finally retiring in Frankfurt. He wrote a considerable amount of music including several piano concertos and a large quantity of chamber music which was many years often performed and well thought of.
Ries performed and published the Quintet himself while he was living in London during 1817. The first movement opens with a long, slow, ominous introduction, Grave which then leads to an exciting Allegro con brio. The second movement, Larghetto, opens with a beautiful cello solo. The piano follows up and other instruments are given cadenza like passages. The brilliant and dramatic finale, Rondo, begins without a pause from the Larghetto.
Our edition is based on Ries' 1817 edition. The Piano Quintet bears the influence of Ries's teacher Beethoven, but also was clearly composed with himself in mind as the pianist. It would do well in concert and should also give pleasure to amateur groups with an accomplished pianist.