Schumann: Piano Quintet
Stephen Johnson visits the Mananan Festival at the Erin Arts Centre on the Isle of Man. There he is joined by The Elias Quartet and pianist, Simon Crawford-Phillips for a detailed breakdown of one of Robert Schumann's most popular and enduring works - the Piano Quintet in E flat, Op.44.
Schumann was the first Romantic composer to pair the piano with the string quartet, a combination later popularised by notable composers such as Brahms, Franck, Dvorak and Elgar. His work was composed in just a few weeks in the autumn of 1842 during Schumann's so-called "Chamber music year." Prior to that year Schumann had completed no chamber music at all, with the exception of an early piano quartet in 1829. However, during his year-long concentration on the genre he wrote three string quartets, a piano trio and a piano quartet as well as this popular piano quintet. The first performance of the work was given by the composer's wife, Clara Schumann, at the Leipzig Gewandhaus in January 1843.