Franck: Piano Quintet in F Minor; Fauré: Piano Quintet No 1 in D minor, Op.89
Composed in 1879, the Piano Quintet in F minor by César Franck (1822-1890) belongs to the fruitful final period of his creative life. It heralded the start of an impressive sequence of late orchestral and chamber pieces, including the Variations Symphoniques (1885), Violin Sonata (1886), D minor Symphony (1886-8), and String Quartet (1889), which set the seal upon his career. The Piano Quintet was premiered in Paris on 17 January 1880 by the Marsick Quartet with Saint-Saëns at the piano at a promotion of the Societé Nationale, for whom Franck wrote several of his finest works. The Quintet is conceived in cyclical form, a structural device favoured by the composer whereby a motif introduced in the first movement recurs in each of its successors.
During the last quarter of the 19th century and into the 1920s, it was Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924) who made the most substantial and lasting contribution to French chamber music. Concentrating almost exclusively on works for piano and strings, he provided between 1876 and 1921 two examples each of the violin sonata, the cello sonata, the piano quartet, and the piano quintet; and during the remaining years to his death in 1924, a single piano trio and a single string quartet.
The genesis of Fauré’s Piano Quintet no.1 in D minor, Op.89 is rather convoluted. His first idea for the work appeared in a sketchbook entry of 1887, where an outline of the finale’s main theme, in F major and in 2/4 time, was included among drafts of the ‘Pie Jesu’ from the Requiem. At this stage the composer was intending to write a third piano quartet and it was not until four years later that he resolved to expand the instrumental forces to a quintet. Subsequently, progress on the score was painstaking and slotted in between work on other compositions. Parts of two movements were sketched and then set aside. He returned to the work in 1903 and finally completed the last of the three movements towards the end of 1905, ready for Eugène Ysaȳe, to whom the piece is dedicated. The first performance took place in Brussels with the Ysaȳe Quartet and the composer as pianist in March 1906.
The booklet contains informative notes by Paul Conway – sections of which are included in this press release.
Described by the BBC Music Magazine, “strong and sensitive” and “dazzling”, Japanese pianist Mami Shikimori has performed at world-renowned concert venues including New York’s Carnegie Hall, Weill Recital Hall, London’s Wigmore Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Cadogan Hall, St. John’s, Smith Square, Bridgewater Hall and Tokyo’s Suntory Hall. Her third album “Tchaikovsky Piano Music” was recently released by Naxos in and it has received critical acclaim in the UK, Japan, France, Spain and the USA. Her recording is frequently broadcast on radio stations such as BBC Radio 3 and Classic FM and it has recently been featured in the Canadian radio programme “Women in music” on the Grand 101 as well as on Classic FM’s programme “Rarely heard gems”. Mami Shikimori was trained at the Royal College of Music in London.
Since winning the London International String Quartet Competition in 1991 the Wihan Quartet have developed an impressive international career, which includes visits to major festivals in Europe and the Far East. The Quartet celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015 and its outstanding reputation for the interpretation of its native Czech heritage and of the many classical, romantic and modern masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire is widely acknowledged. The Wihan Quartet gave the first ever cycle of Beethoven Quartets in Prague, which was recorded and released on Nimbus Alliance, attracting excellent reviews from the press. Their recordings have been chosen as Recording of the Year by MusicWeb International and BBC Music magazine said their Dvořák Op. 61 recording was one of the finest encountered to date. The Wihan Quartet is a great supporter of the work of the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, which gives inspirational concerts and masterclasses to young people in many parts of the country.
For more information please visit www.mamishikimori.com and www.wihanquartet.co.uk