The peerless Takács Quartet, recently nominated for a Gramophone award for their second disc of Brahms’s string quartets, continue their fêted exploration of the Romantic chamber music tradition with this disc of Schumann.
The Piano Quintet in E flat major is by far Schumann’s most popular chamber work and one of the most beloved works in the genre. Schumann was the first romantic composer to pair the piano with the string quartet. It was written during the composer’s ‘chamber music year’ (1842) when, ‘in the first happiness of reunion with the piano, his creative imagination took on a new lease of life’ (Joan Chisell, Robert Schumann). Schumann had been studying the string quartets of Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn, and the String Quartet in A major Op 41 No 3 demonstrates these influences, but is written in a characteristic musical language and contains many highly original strokes, particularly the casting of the Scherzo as a set of variations.
The Takács Quartet are joined by Marc-André Hamelin in an invigorating partnership that has already been widely acclaimed on the concert platform.