Piano Quartet No.2 in E flat Major, Op.17--New Edition
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.
His Second Piano Quartet, which dates from 1809, invokes the spirit of his famous teacher without quoting from him. Ries seems here to have been especially influenced by Beethoven's Archduke Piano Trio and Triple Concerto. The opening movement, Allegro, begins calmly enough with a lovely lyrical theme but soon the music is ratcheted up to a bravura temperature almost reaching that of a concerto. The piano introduces the second movement, Adagio mesto, with a Bach-like prelude, which introduces a rather sad reflective melody brought forth by the strings individually. The Quartet concludes with an exuberant, lively Rondeau, allegro moderato.
Here is a Piano Quartet which combines the styles of the late Vienna classics with the newly emerging early romantic. It would do well in concert and should also give pleasure to amateurs