Ernest Bloch

Quintet for piano & strings No. 1

    Description by Joseph Stevenson

    This is one of the most dramatic of chamber pieces. Its opening movement is propulsive, its questing first subject beginning with declamatory five-note motive which rises and falls spikily, then repeating a rhythmic tag. It contrasts with an incantatory second subject which carries with it a chirping, bird-like figure. The second movement is a lyrical transformation of the same ideas with a faster central section, while the finale is an even more driven version of the first movement's materials. The only real relaxation and calm in the music is the remarkable coda, which brings the entire work to un unexpectedly peaceful conclusion. Even more remarkable is the vocabulary -- Bloch liberally uses quarter-step intervals (notes which would be found between the 12 notes of the chromatic piano scale). These are mainly used for color, rather than as part of any harmonic system, but they do add an eerie quality to many sections of the score. This is one of the exceptional masterpieces of the piano quintet literature.

    Parts/Movements

    1. Agitato
    2. Andante mistico
    3. Allegro energico

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2013 Broken Audio BRAU 0998
    2010 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099960736
    2007 Hyperion 67638
    2003 Musiques Suisses 6203
    2003 Praga 250185
    2003 Praga PRD250185
    2002 Andante 2970
    1995 Edition Abseits 003
    1992 Arabesque 6618
    Koch 7041
    Laurel Records 848
    Fono Teca 971103