This week’s edition of the ASCAP Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award Winning program Between the keys zeros in on the piano quintet genre, in an episode whimsically entitled “Party of Five.”
“I always wondered what drew great composers to the piano quintet genre,” says The Classical Network’s Artist-in-Residence composer/piano Jed Distler, who produces, writes and hosts Between the Keys. “Maybe it’s because piano quintets offer the best of all worlds. You have the potential for the most intimate and finely honed chamber interaction. At the same time, you can rise to an almost orchestral level of massed sonority. You can let go like a soloist one moment, or step back and blend in like collaborator another moment. All these characteristics seem to spark composers’ imaginations.”
Featured this hour are works by Medtner, Toch, Castelnuevo-Tedesco, Schubert, Bloch, Bartok and Dvorak. “Some of the works will be familiar,” says Distler, “like the Schubert ‘Trout’ Quintet variation movement, where we’ll hear Artur Schnabel simply soar through the piano part.”
“But Medtner Quintet, however, is positively epic and virtually unplayed. My good friend and duo piano partner Massimo Giuseppe Bianchi is featured in the opening of Castelnuevo-Tedesco’s Second Quintet, and you’ll be amazed that its main theme sounds almost exactly like the pop song ‘You Are My Sunshine’. And how can we not conclude with the finale of the great Dvorak A Major Quintet Op. 81? Is there a more uplifting and joyous Piano Quintet final movement in existence? I think not, and we’ve got a live performance from Kiev with the Borodin Quartet and pianist Sviatoslav Richter that positively leaps off the printed page and dances like mad!.”
Tune in this Tuesday night May 21st at 10. Between the Keys is proudly sponsored by Jacobs Music Company, and is an exclusive production of The Classical Network and WWFM.Org.