Piano Quartet in f minor, Op.29
“Georg Schumann's superb Piano Quartet in f minor dates from 1901. I can warmly recommend it for the concert hall, but it can also be played by experienced amateur players of good ability. It is a work which is grateful to play both for the piano and the strings. As the composer himself has said, although the structure is in sonata form, this form must on occasion be abandoned in a large scale work such as this where the music so requires it. There is a sense of impending destiny with which the music is infused. The two main subjects of the opening Allegro molto espressivo are filled with defiance and lament. They reappear in altered form in the second movement, Molto Andante con espressione where at last a sense of peace is achieved. But then, in the very original Quasi presto con fuoco which comes next, there is a stormy return to defiance and unrest, although it is not without happier interludes. In the finale, Allegro con passione, the main theme is characterized by a sense of determination to overcome the despair which had permeated the preceding movements."---the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Handbook for Piano Quartet Players.
Georg Schumann (1866-1952) was born in the German town of Konigstein. He was born into a musical family. His father was the town Music Director and he initially studied piano and violin with him. He studied organ in Dresden and then entered the Leipzig conservatory where he studied piano with Reinecke and composition with Salomon Jadassohn. He became a brilliant pianist and started off on a solo career but later branched off and enjoyed a conducting career in Bremen and later Berlin where he also taught. He composed throughout his life and he was especially fond of chamber music and composed two piano trios, two piano quintets, a piano quartet and some instrumental sonatas.
Here is another work we do not hesitate to call a masterpiece. Certainly, it belongs in the repertoire and is as fine as anything from this period. It has been unavailable for many decades. We are pleased to make it available once again and recommend it to both professionals and experienced amateurs alike.