Saturday 23 September
7.30 – 9.30pm
Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York
Tickets: £15, 18 and under £5
Mozart - Piano Quartet G minor, K478
Schubert - Notturno in E flat major for piano trio, D897
Brahms - Piano Quartet G minor, Op. 25
Magnus Johnston, Martyn Jackson violins,
Sarah-Jane Bradley viola, Pierre Doumenge, Tim Lowe cellos
Andrew Brownell piano
In 1876 Mozart was at the peak of his creative powers with the pianoforte, the year he composed his piano concertos Nos. 23, 24 and 25. There is clear affinity with his great concertos, but the intimacy and balance of the piano quartet is of a more private world. The piano parts, however, were too difficult for domestic players (music loving families mostly owned harpsicords). But in the process Mozart basically invented the idea of the piano quartet.
Schubert’s Adagio, also known as the Notturno is a single movement that dates from only a year before his death and is a beautiful song full of hope despite his pain and suffering (he was in the terminal stage of syphilis and what probably killed him the treatment which included the use of mercury). It is possible that the piece was originally intended as the slow movement of his B Flat major piano trio, D929. The movement has many affinities with his achingly beautiful string Quintet in C Major for Strings, D. 956
Brahms wrote the Piano Quartet in G minor in 1861, at the beginning of his first maturity, age 28 and just a year before his first trip to Vienna. It is innovative in length, nearly three quarters of an hour long, uses Gypsy music in the finale and contains three other movements of lyrical, breathtaking beauty. The Gypsy Rondo, which Schoenberg made into an orchestral transcription, is indeed a tour-de-force of rhythmic and melodic bravado and a fittingly joyful way to close the 2017 York Chamber Music Festival.
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