Dvořák: Piano Quintet

The combination of piano and string quartet only became really fashionable in the mid-nineteenth century. Before that piano quintets with strings frequently used the combination of piano, violin, viola and double bass (Schubert’s Trout Quintet is a famous example). It was the deserved success of Schumann’s Piano Quintet (1842) that opened the flood gates; the […]

Journey’s end

Our Winter journey together completed, Schubert bids us – and practically everything else – a fond, last farewell: Abschied (Farewell) D.957/7 Farewell! You jolly, you cheerful town, goodbye! My horse paws the ground now with light-hearted hoof, Now receive my final, my parting salute You’ve never seen me downcast before, And it can’t happen now at […]

The hurdy-gurdy man

The end of Wilhelm Müller’s Die Winterreise has a strangeness that never fails to touch and mystify. The image of the ancient, penniless hurdy-gurdy man making his music, unmoved by the passing world, is inexplicably potent – it calls to us. Who is he?  Death? Madness? A salvation of some sort? And then there’s Schubert’s setting: the simple hurdy-gurdy/bagpipe […]