Piano Quintet in b minor, Op.118
“The three movement Piano Quintet in b minor, Op.118 was composed in 1910. It begins with a very forceful Allegro ma non tanto ma energico that features several lyrical interludes. In the following Adagio con intimo sentimento, the piano by itself introduces the delicate and fragile main theme. The entrance of the strings brings richness and later hints of drama. The finale, Moderato—Allegro, begins quietly and slowly, quoting the main theme to the prior movement. The cello and violin are given short declamatory recitatives which build tension and lead to the Allegro. It is a powerful and dramatic movement full of lyrical melody and further enhanced by its very original and effective opening. This is certainly a work deserving of concert performance"---The Chamber Music Journal
Philipp Scharwenka (1847-1917) was born near Posen, then part of Prussian Poland. He moved to Berlin in 1865 to complete his musical education. A good pianist, he primarily devoted himself to composition and teaching at several of Berlin’s leading conservatories, finally joining the faculty and serving as director of the conservatory founded by his younger brother, Xaver. Otto Klemperer was among his many students. During his lifetime, his orchestral compositions were featured regularly in German concert halls, but the common consensus is that his chamber music was his best work. Besides several instrumental sonatas, he wrote two string quartets, two standard piano trios, a trio for violin, viola & piano and a piano quintet.
Here is an important late Romantic addition to the piano quintet repertoire. It is sure to make a strong impression in the concert hall but is a work which well within the reach of amateur players, Unavailable for many years now, we are pleased to reintroduce it.