Saturday, June 25, 2011

Fit for a chamber

Chamber music is a form of classical music, written for a small group of instruments which traditionally could be accommodated in a palace chamber.  The word "chamber" signifies that the music can be performed in a small room with an intimate atmosphere. However, it usually does not include, by definition, solo instrument performances.

Because of its intimate nature, chamber music has been described as "the music of friends.'

While Chamber music doesn't have the big sound of a symphonic orchestra, it doesn't mean it is any less enjoyable.  Some of the great master pieces are found in this form of classical music.  There have been so many great trios, quartets, quintets, etc. from the great composers like Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Dvorak, et.al. When one thinks of chamber music, I think the first thing that comes to mind is the string quartet, usually comprised of 2 violins, a cello, and a viola. Sometimes it is composed of one violin, cello, viola and double bass.

You also have quartets that are not all string quartets, as I am showing in today's piece, a piano quartet. By it's name, you can see it would include a piano and 3 string instruments: violin, cello and viola.  You can have flute quartets, clarinet quartets, etc. which of course includes the three string instruments plus the named instrument of the quartet.

There are larger chamber pieces, like Schubert's great piano quintet called 'The Trout' and Mendelssohn's brilliant octet in E flat major [composed at the age of 16].

As I said today's chamber piece is a piano quartet by the quintessential classical composer W.A. Mozart.   This piece, as the chamber music implies, is played in a small venue, looks like it could be in the room of a house.  Small maybe, but utterly elegant.

 Mozart Piano Quartet in G minor, 3rd movement, Rondo

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