The Quartet in E flat for piano and wind (clarinet, bassoon and horn) dates from 1819, when Berwald was in his mid-twenties. By this time he had already composed the 1817 Septet, two string quartets (the second of which does not survive), a set of variations for two violins, and a number of keyboard pieces which he published himself in his Journal de musique
. Composed in the received idiom of the day and indebted to Hummel, Weber and Spohr, the Piano Quartet in E flat breaks no new moulds. It follows the usual formal conventions—the outer movements are in sonata form and the middle movement is in a simple lied form. At the same time there are some signs of individuality, and a lively intelligence and wit shine through. Though not a major part of the Berwald canon, it remains a worthwhile contribution to the chamber music repertoire.
from notes by Robert Layton © 1997