Quintet in B flat Major for
Piano, Flute, Clarinet, Horn & Bassoon
Rimsky-Korsakov wrote two works, a String Sextet and this Quintet for Piano and Winds, for a competition held by the Russian Musical Society in 1876. In his autobiography, he wrote:
"After I had completed the String Sextet, I took it into my head to write a Quintet for Piano and Winds for the same competition. I composed the Quintet in three movements. The First Movement, Allegro con brio, in the classic style of Beethoven. The Second Movement, Andante, contained a good fugue for the wind instruments with a very free accompaniment in the piano. In the finale, Allegretto vivace, I wrote in rondo form. Of interest is the middle section where I wrote cadenzas for the flute, the clarinet and the horn to be played in turns. Each was in the character of the instrument and each was interrupted by the bassoon entering by octave leaps...And what was the fate of my Sextet and Quintet? The jury awarded the prize to Napravnik for his Trio. My Sextet received an honorable mention, but my Quintet and every other work submitted by all of the other composers were disgarded without comment. I heard later that Napravnik had been lucky to have had a pianist assigned to his trio who was a superb sight reader and thus had performed his trio beautifully, whereas my Quintet was ruined by another pianist who could not sight read nor make heads or tails of it. Had my Quintet been fortunate in the pianist assigned to it, I am sure it would have attracted the jury's attention."
When you hear the sound-bites, we think you will agree with his assessment. Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) needs no introduction. He is justifiably famous for Scheherazade and many other orchestral works.
The Quintet was not published until after Korsakov's death in 1912. That edition disappeared after the Russian Revolution. A second edition was subsequently published by the Soviet State Music Publishers. Our edition is a reprint of that long out of print edition. This Quintet is a first rate work with each instrument be treated wonderfully. Certainly it should be near the top of any list for those looking for attractive works for Piano and Winds. It makes an attractive compliment to the Hans Huber Quintet as well as the Anton Rubinstein Quintet, both for the same combination and available from Edition Silvertrust.