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Hyperion Records

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Afternoon in the Park by Hippolyte Petitjean (1854-1929)
Phillips Fine Art / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67431/2
Recording details: July 2004
Henry Wood Hall, London, United Kingdom
Release date: May 2005
Total duration: 30 minutes 26 seconds

Piano Quintet in A minor, Op 14
composer

Presto  [4'58]

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Piano Quintet in A minor Op 14, Saint-Saëns’s earliest cyclic composition, was composed in 1855, but only published ten years later. It is dedicated to the composer’s great-aunt Charlotte Gayard Masson, who lived with him and his mother and gave him his first piano lessons. The piano plays a dominant virtuoso role, often in opposition to the string quartet, but also engaging in dialogue, ensemble, contrapuntal, and unison passages.

The first movement, Allegro moderato e maestoso in common time, provides a chordal introduction, repeated within the movement, followed by the statement and development of three portentous themes, and a recapitulation featuring a cadenza for the piano. The lyrical second movement, Andante sostenuto in F major in 3/8 time, presents a serious, noble chorale-like theme on the piano answered by the strings, joined by a second cantabile theme initiated by the viola followed by the quartet, and then a reprise of the first theme. The third movement, an A minor Presto in 6/8, consists of a moto perpetuo using two active motifs, a more expressive middle section, and a coda suggesting the opening of the quintet. The final movement, Allegro assai, ma tranquillo in A major, contains a fugato built on a scale-like theme for the strings followed by a second lyrical theme for the full ensemble, then enmeshes the two contrapuntally, and finally invokes the second theme of the first movement. This youthful work projects a frank and confident mood.

from notes by Sabina Teller Ratner © 2005

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