Schumann Piano Quartet Analysis
Topics: Chamber music, Piano, Sonata form / Pages: 6 (1294 words) / Published: Sep 5th, 2011

Music Performance – Unit Three Outcome One and Two: Criteria One: Knowledge of Work Selected for Performance.

WORK: | Piano Quartet in Eb major Mvmt’1 Op.47 By Robert Schumann |
<Instrumentation: Violin, Viola, Cello and Piano>

Robert Alexander Schumann was a German Romantic composer and music critic who lived from 8 June 1810 to 29 July 1856. He composed this piece in 1842, also known as his ‘Chamber Music Year.’ Schumann had never written a chamber work until this year except an early piano quartet in 1829. However, in 1842, he composed the Three String Quartets Op. 41, the Piano Quintet Op.44, the Piano Quartet Op.47 and a piano trio, which became the Fantasiestuke Op. 88 later on. This Piano Quartet is also known as the ‘creative double’ of the Piano Quintet and is less known then its other significant half. He began writing this Quartet on October 24 1842; finished it within a month then was first published in 1845.

At the time of Schumann’s ‘Chamber Music year’, chamber music was making the change in its stage from the private venues to bigger concert performances. Schumann and other famous composer of those times such as Mendelssohn and Brahms started experimenting with more complex and larger ensembles to meet the expectations of a larger and more demanding concert environments. They combined the strings with the newly developed and much more capable and virtuosic piano.

Being an Early Romantic (1820-1850) piece, you can find typical stylistic features of the period in this piece. They are: * Big range of dynamics * Increase in pedalling in the piano * Focus on evoking emotion and self expression * The piano is the most prominent part * The formal structure of the pieces were expanded * Emphasis on lyrical, song-like melodies * Adventurous and numerous modulations * Richer harmonies * Abundance of chromatic passages * Bold dramatic contrasts * Explores wider range of pitch and tone colours

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