Piano Quintet No.2 in a minor, Op.100
It appears that Röntgen wrote three piano quintets, but only his Piano Quintet No.2 in a minor, Op.100 was published in 1931 the year before his death. In four concise movements, it begins with a generally calm and somewhat lyrical Andantino which features canonic interplay between the violins, The second movement is a scherzo, Allegro, more upbeat with fugal trio section which recalls the fugue in Mendelssohn’s Op.44 No.3 string quartet. The Lento e mesto which follows could be styled as a lament. The finale, Con moto, ma non troppo allegro, is noteworthy for its continual shifts between the minor to the major, a kind of thematic struggle which creates a sense of unrest.
Julius Röntgen (1855-1932) was born in the German city of Leipzig. His father was a violinist and his mother a pianist. He showed musical talent at an early age and was taken to the famed pianist and composer, Carl Reinecke, the director of the Gewandhaus orchestra. Subsequently he studied piano in Munich with Franz Lachner, one of Schubert's closest friends. After a brief stint as a concert pianist, Röntgen moved to Amsterdam and taught piano there, helping to found the Amsterdam Conservatory and the subsequently world famous Concertgebouw Orchestra. He composed throughout his life and especially during his last 10 years after he retired. Though he wrote in most genres, chamber music was his most important area. It is not clear just how many works he wrote as many are still in manuscript.
This is a fine work which can not only be recommended for concert performance but also to amateur players.