Piano Quintets
November 9, 2017 2:24 AM   Subscribe

Do you like string quartets? And piano music? How about combining these flavours in the form of a Piano Quintet? If you’re unsure (or haven’t much time), try dipping a small spoon into the bowl with the second movement of Antonin Dvořák’s 1881 Piano Quintet. If this kind of thing is already to your taste, or if you have all day & nothing better to do, then see within for a whole lot more...

Note that the seven pieces marked with an asterisk feature piano with violin, viola, cello & double-bass, whereas in the remainder a piano is joined by the standard string quartet line-up of 2 violins, viola & cello. All links are to YouTube videos of recordings or performances of music.
posted by misteraitch (25 comments total) 76 users marked this as a favorite
 
I am interested in your ideas and would like to subscribe to your newsletter, as the kids say. Excellent post and one I will enjoy gradually listening my way through. My prejudiced viewpoint at the moment, though, is that if all the other pieces listed here add up together to anything as good as the Schumann E-flat major quintet, they will be doing pretty well.
posted by huimangm at 2:59 AM on November 9


Ah, the much-loved Dumka movement. Some may notice the resemblence to "Nature Boy" from Moulin Rouge.
posted by metaseeker at 4:04 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Very nice, thank you!
posted by james33 at 4:39 AM on November 9


If you’re unsure

as long as there's no flute, I'm in
posted by thelonius at 4:45 AM on November 9


Do you like string quartets? And piano music?

Then you might also like Beethoven's Gross Fugue string quartet performed on piano, four hands.

That, and string orchestra arrangements, were the standard offerings for that piece. Starting off with an extended triple forte was a bit much for the string quartet "athletes" of Beethoven's day, who pronounced it "unplayable".
posted by StickyCarpet at 4:47 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


I am ashamed to say I misunderstood this as being a quintet of pianos and was very confused to hear strings!
posted by mittens at 4:53 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]


mittens - I wasn't aware of any pieces for five pianos, but a quick YouTube search turns up some arrangements, like this one. And, for six pianos...
posted by misteraitch at 4:59 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


the much-loved Dumka movement.

metaseeker is referring to the first Dvořák link. A dumka "is a piece of Slavonic music that typically has abrupt changes in mood from sadness to joy". (Just to save you a google.)
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:09 AM on November 9


the resemblence to "Nature Boy" from Moulin Rouge

There's an interesting story behind 'Nature Boy'. In its day it became most people's introduction to a nascent Hippy culture.

In 1941, a 33-year-old George McGrew arrived in Los Angeles and began playing piano in the Eutropheon, a small health food store and raw food restaurant on Laurel Canyon Boulevard. The café was owned by John and Vera Richter, who followed a Naturmensch and Lebensreform philosophy influenced by the Wandervogel movement in Germany. Their followers, known as "Nature Boys", wore long hair and beards and ate only raw fruits and vegetables. McGrew adopted the philosophy and chose the name "eden ahbez", writing and spelling his name with lower-case letters. It was there, while living in a cave near Palm Springs, that ahbez wrote 'Nature Boy'.
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:24 AM on November 9 [4 favorites]


I think this will probably be one of those posts with a lot more favourites than comments - but for the best of reasons. Nice!
posted by Harald74 at 5:50 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


The Dumka video shows the corresponding sheet music. I can't really play the piano but I did take some lessons and I got a kick out of following along.
posted by kingless at 6:14 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


The Dumka video shows the corresponding sheet music.

There is a lot of that on Youtube, it's excellent
posted by thelonius at 6:39 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Not so much into quintets myself, but how about an octet?
posted by Omon Ra at 7:53 AM on November 9


I hope I never cease to be grateful to the internet for the huge amount of music I am able to have in my life.
posted by JanetLand at 8:02 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


My customary role in posts like this is to say "Grażyna Bacewicz is awesome and should be better known, here's a link to her music"... but wait... there she is! The campaign is working! Woo hoo!

*recalculating*

Hey misteraitch, I was into Bacewicz before she was cool
posted by aws17576 at 8:13 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


The Dumka video shows the corresponding sheet music.

There is a lot of that on Youtube, it's excellent


I stayed at someone's house a long time ago who had a book (books?) of Beethoven's piano sonatas and discovered it enormously enhanced my ability to appreciate the music. I've had a few scores on my Amazon wishlist for a while, but it never occurred to me there would be videos like this, but of course there are.

Thanks for the post, Mr. H!
posted by straight at 8:50 AM on November 9 [2 favorites]


There is a lot of that on Youtube, it's excellent

Yep. I especially like a guy named Ashish Xiangyi Kumar who regularly posts piano music + score videos, usually of two or three very different performances, with extremely detailed program notes in the descriptions.
posted by theodolite at 9:00 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


My customary role in posts like this is to say "Grażyna Bacewicz is awesome and should be better known, here's a link to her music"... but wait... there she is! The campaign is working! Woo hoo!


See also: me and Ernest Bloch.

OP, I'll see your 1983 recording of the Shostakovich Piano Quintet and raise you this 1955 recording with the piano played by the composer himself (strings played by the Beethoven Quartet). It moves at breakneck speed compared to most other recordings (including an earlier recording made by the Beethovens and Shostakovich in 1940), but it still apparently isn't as fast as the metronome mark in the score. As Shostakovich himself once said when a musician pointed out he'd asked them to play one of his pieces at a different tempo than the score indicated: "Ignore that, my metronome at home is broken."

Speaking of composers with controversial metronome marks, here's Beethoven's Quintet for Piano and Winds.
posted by Perodicticus potto at 9:41 AM on November 9 [1 favorite]


Wonderful post! Thank you so much!
posted by Golem XIV at 9:48 AM on November 9


The piano quintet is my favorite classical ensemble. For anyone who doesn't want to go through all 30+ quintets in that list, my favorites are the Brahms, Dvořák, and Franck.
posted by dfan at 10:19 AM on November 9


Dear misteraitch, thanks for enriching my afternoon!
posted by valannc at 2:35 PM on November 9


That was so great, thanks very much.
posted by smoke at 4:03 PM on November 9


Lovely post which has given a wonderful musical backdrop to my whole day. Thank you!
posted by Diomedea at 3:14 PM on November 10


I've been listening to the other Youtube takes on the second movement of Antonin Dvořák’s 1881 Piano Quintet, AKA Nature Boy.

Seems misteraitch found the best one. Now I will presume that all of these are so well-selected, and listen carefully. Thanks misteraitch!
posted by StickyCarpet at 9:52 PM on November 10




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