César Franck

Piano Quintet in F minor, FWV 7

    Description by Hector Bellman

    The Piano Quintet, one of the earliest masterpieces of Franck, marked his return to chamber music after more than 35 years. The work was dedicated to Saint-Saëns who, although he played the piano part in the premiere, so strongly disapproved of the musical language of the composer that he rejected the dedication.

    The first movement opens with a dramatic introduction, Molto moderato quasi lento, by the bowed strings. The piano replies in a gentle manner. The strings restate their opening. The piano turns even more gentle. The dialogue continues along similar lines until the piano suddenly launches into the Allegro. The second subject is characterized by a wistful inflection to minor. The development reaches a stormy climax. A passage mirrors the introduction. The reprise is very intense, but it concludes fading away. The second movement, Lento, con molto sentimento, is also in sonata form. It opens with a motive with a falling figure on the first violin, with a background of repeated chords of the piano. The atmosphere gradually turns more tragic. Then, a gentle melody in the lower strings is accompanied by piano in the high register. In the central section, the piano brings back the second subject of the opening Allegro. The reprise is again highly dramatic. The finale, Allegro non troppo ma con fuoco, is characterized by a relentless rhythmic drive. It opens with a repeated soft motive in the strings from which the first subject emerges. The second subject begins with a piano theme accompanied by the strings. The agitation continues throughout. Near the ending, the second subject of the Allegro reappears. But the rhythmic urgency resumes and brings the work to an intense conclusion.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Molto moderato quasi lento
    2. Lento, con molto sentimento
    3. Allegro non troppo, ma con fuoco

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2017 CPO 5550882
    2016 Hyperion CDA 68061
    2016 RCA Red Seal 88843095342
    2014 Centaur Records CRC 3353
    2013 Entertainment Group 6120
    2013 MDG ZBL D6759394
    2013 Broken Audio BRAU 0957
    2013 Music@Menlo LIVE 201302
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099970490
    2012 ECM / Universal Music Group
    2012 IDIS 6644
    2012 RCA Red Seal 88725451452
    2011 Cypres Records CYP 4637
    2011 ECM 219094
    2011 ECM 4764509
    2011 Musique en Wallonie MEW 1161
    2010 Champs Hill Records 004
    2010 ECM 4763912
    2010 ECM New Series
    2010 IBA [Idil Biret Archives] / Naxos 8571278
    2010 Musicaphon 56916
    2009 Naxos 8572009
    2009 Antes Edition / Zebralution BM-CD 31.9082
    2008 Alphée / Zebralution
    2008 Urania 355
    2008 Cascavelle 3094
    2008 Brilliant Classics 93716
    2007 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 0946381783
    2007 EMI Classics
    2007 Ysaye Records 3
    2006 Opus KURA 2056
    2006 MDG 6441351
    2006 Bridge 9185
    2005 Fuga Libera 509
    2004 Doremi Records 5701
    2003 Decca 000150702
    2002 Disques Pierre Verany 792032
    2001 BBC Legends / BBC Worldwide 40612
    2001 INA Memoire Vive 003
    2000 ECM 827024
    1999 Biddulph Recordings 133/34
    1999 Malibran Music 115
    1998 Naxos 8 553645
    1997 BMG 61764
    1996 Sony Music Distribution 62709
    1996 Testament 1077
    1994 ECM 21304
    1994 Koch Schwann 310552
    1993 Timpani 4017
    1993 ASV/Living Era 769
    Dante 013
    Ades 20411
    ASV Gold 4019
    BBC Music Magazine 82
    Irco 273
    Timpani 1017
    REM 311153
    REM 311145
    Ondine 788
    Divox 29001
    Ultima 3984242345
    Erasmus 1