Piano Quintet (2017)
for piano and String quartet
Instrumentation: piano and string quartet
Duration: 20 minutes
World Premiere: Commissioned by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music sponsored by Jim Cushing, the La Jolla Music Society, and the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth. Premiered on March 19, 2017 in Tucson, AZ, Leo Rich Theatre (USA), at the 24th Tucson Winter Chamber Music Festival 2017 by the Jupiter Quartet and Bernadette Harvey, piano · Arizona Friends of Chamber Music
My Piano Quintet consists of four contrasting movements. The first movement, entitled Mannheim Rocket, is a modern take on the 18th-century musical technique in which a rising figure speeds up and grows louder. Marked ‘Furioso’, the movement is gradually filled with rising scalar figures which build in volume and finally ‘launch’ into space with ethereal string harmonics. At this point, the music becomes almost static, though the inner rhythm continues.
The second movement, entitled Kyrie, is marked ‘Still, chant-like’. The principal idea, stated between first violin and viola, is a chromatically transformed chant-like motive. It also features a long, lyrical cello line, made up exclusively of natural harmonics, emphasizing the non-tempered (‘out of tune’) 7th and 11th partials.
The third movement is a scherzo in which the strings and piano sometimes alternate and imitate each other, reacting to each other’s gestures, and at other times, combine and synchronize to produce a more blended sound. A short Trio-like section appears before the return of the scherzo music.
The last movement, Pulse, is made up of perpetually moving 8th notes, sometimes harmonically static, but always pushing forward. The work is interrupted twice with short, freer sections, but always returns to its pulse-oriented nature.
© 2016 Pierre Jalbert, Pinao Quintet
Photo: Julia Jalbert