Strauss: Piano Quartet In C Major, Op. 13, Trv 137

Album cover art for upc 761203511624
Label: CPO
Catalog: 555116-2
Format: CD

Dinglinger, Doren; Vay, Alexandre; Blumenthal, Daniel; Nys, Tony

A radically systematic logic stunningly manifested itself quite early in the music of Richard Strauss. He avoided the instrumental genres, was attracted to the tone poem right from the very start, and worked toward the goal of making the opera his central focus. And yet his beginnings lay in chamber music, a fact demonstrated on this release with two examples in new recordings. The Piano Trio No. 2 is lengthier than its predecessor and very ambitious both in its tonal register and execution. The formal norms – sonata form, song form, scherzo, and then another sonata movement – are upheld with completeness and elegance. The piano trio had a long line of tradition going back to Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, but the composer who set standards in the middle of the nineteenth century is particularly clearly recognizable here in a model function: Mendelssohn. Only about seven years passed between this trio and Strauss’s only Piano Quartet, but in 1885 too he was still a very young composer. The quartet displays impressive advances in technique; now Strauss apparently could draw on all the compositional resources then available, and the higher virtuosic demands on the instrumentalists are also quite evident. Strauss attracted the greatest attention with his large-format op. 13 lasting almost forty minutes, a work that even brought him a prize from the Berliner Tonkünstlerverein.

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