Schubert Ensemble: Quintets by Dohnányi & Elgar | Kings Place

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Schubert Ensemble: Quintets by Dohnányi & Elgar

Schubert Ensemble: Quintessentials
Music / Thursday, 9 February 2017 - 7:30pm / Hall One
£16.50 – £34.50 | Savers £9.50* / Multi-buy discounts available

PART 1: ‘Behind the Notes’

Short break (10 mins)

PART 2: 8:10pm approx.

Dohnányi Piano Quintet No. 2 in E flat minor, Op. 26

Elgar Piano Quintet in A minor, Op. 84

William Howard piano

Simon Blendis violin

Annabelle Meare violin

Douglas Paterson viola

Jane Salmon cello

The third concert in the Schubert Ensemble’s six-part series features two ravishing but contrasting works written either side of the First World War. Elgar spent the war in London, depressed and unable to compose, but rediscovered his creativity in May 1918 after a move to an isolated cottage deep in the Sussex countryside. His Piano Quintet, one of the greatest masterpieces of the English chamber repertoire, was written between that summer and the following spring. The Quintet shifts from thoughtful, almost introverted music to massive, passionate outbursts, in which the composer creates an almost orchestral grandeur from the five instruments. At the core of the work is a poignantly beautiful slow movement that suggests an aching sense of loss and melancholy and a deeply personal response to the devastation of the war.

Dohnányi’s Second Piano Quintet was written during the summer and early autumn of 1914 and is one of the finest of his chamber works. The sombre and brooding openings of both the first and last of the three movements might reflect Dohnányi’s reaction to the outbreak of war, but the work as a whole is notable for its colourful writing and variety of instrumental texture; the prevailing mood is optimistic, with passages of ravishing lushness and ecstasy. Dohnányi’s musical language looks back more to 19th century romanticism than forward to 20th century modernism, which may explain why he has been overshadowed by his compatriots Bartók and Kodály, but this Quintet, a favourite of the Schubert Ensemble, is one of several works that that deserve to be more widely heard.

The Schubert Ensemble’s highly-acclaimed ‘Behind the Notes’ sessions will explore and illuminate the lesser known work, using live performance to strip down the music and reveal its inner workings.

On Dohnányi’s Quintet:
‘It was the Dohnányi Piano Quintet No.2 that proved the evening’s revelation, a work of rich, glowing colours and sometimes near-overheated histrionics that grips the listener from start to finish. The players weren’t afraid to show their evident enjoyment of the work – smiles all round – and they gave a performance so forthright and passionate that at times it sounded as if a chamber orchestra were playing. A hugely impressive concert.’
The Strad

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