Recorded on 09/26/2006, uploaded on 01/14/2009
Musician's or Publisher's Notes
Fauré wrote six major chamber music pieces over the
course of his compositional career including a piano trio, a string quartet,
two piano quintets and two piano quartets.
This piano quartet-opus 15 from 1879-is the earliest of those
compositions and is arguably the most popular of the six.
Opus 15 opens with a unison string statement of a
vigorous principal theme that is transformed into a tender melody. The viola introduces a secondary theme that
is imitated by the other instruments.
Fauré alternates between the two themes with a flowing piano part
throughout. The movement ends with a
conventional recapitulation and coda.
The Scherzo opens with the piano introducing the
melody in 6/8 meter surrounded by pizzicato chords from the strings. The tune moves to the string players who
offer it in a 2/4 meter variation. A
playful rhythm is the result of continued meter shifts and the occasional
superimposition of the theme in one meter against the same theme in a second
meter. A contrasting Trio section
introduces a new melody primarily given to the strings. The movement ends by returning to the
Scherzo's first melody.
The Adagio movement is a personal expression of grief
portraying great yearning and melancholy.
In A-B-A form, both themes are structured around rising scale
fragments. The return to the A theme offers
a more elaborate piano part.
The finale, marked Allegro molto, uses a similar
rising scale theme as the Adagio with the same rhythmic pattern introduced in
the first movement, thereby giving unity to the quartet as a whole. After an energetic opening subject, the
second more song-like theme is introduced by the viola, before being taken up
by the other players. The development
section builds to an impassioned climax.
A recapitulation of the first motive of the movement starts quietly and
leads to a brilliant conclusion. Flatiron Trio
Courtesy of International Music Foundation.
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