Juliusz Zarebski

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Piano Quintet in g minor, Op.34

Juliusz Zarebski (1854-1885) was born in the Polish town of Zytomierz. After studying piano with local teachers, he attended the Vienna Conservatory where he studied composition with Franz Krenn and piano with Josef Dachs. After graduating, he was able to continue his piano studies with Franz Liszt in Rome. He is said to have been one of Liszt's favorite students. After completing his studies, he pursued a career as soloist, touring throughout Europe. He eventually became a Professor at the Brussels Conservatory. Most of his important works were written in the last two years of his life. Though most of his works were for piano, his Quintet for Piano and Strings is considered one of his very best and important in its own right.

The editor of The Chamber Music Journal, reviewing Zarebski's Piano Quintet, wrote as follows:

"The Quintet for Piano and Strings in g minor was composed in the year of his death. It is a work on a grand scale. Zarebski knew that he was dying and almost certainly felt that this quintet would be an important part his musical testament. The opening Allegro is at once brooding, lyrical and powerful. The music is an interesting blend, showing the influence of Brahms as well as that of Cesar Franck. The integration of the piano with the strings—always a concern, especially when the composer is a piano virtuoso—leaves nothing to be desired. The piano fits in seamlessly and does not dominate the strings. The following Adagio seems to break all bounds of time and space. Tonally interesting, the strings speak amongst themselves in subdued and leisurely voices. The second theme is derived from the first movement. Perhaps the most striking movement is the Scherzo with its driving main theme and two trios. The use of pizzicato and harmonics is particularly effective. In the last movement, marked Finale, there are echoes of Faure as well as Brahms. Liszt, to whom the Quintet was dedicated, judged it perfect. Certainly, it is a work of great originality and deserves to join the foremost rank of piano quintets and be heard in concert."

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