Program Notes

César Franck’s imposing Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano was a work of his mature years and was presented in 1886 to the violinist Eugène Ysaÿe as a wedding present. It begins with a melody for the violin that is both sweet and surprising, and which will form the unifying element of the entire work. The stormy second movement is marked Allegro but has its haunted moments. The next movement marked Ben moderato: Recitative-Fantasia, demands the highest musicianship from both performers. The final movement, marked Allegretto poco mosso continues the slow-fast pattern of the sonata and offers a complex pattern of canonic imitation between the two instruments, giving us in its soaring passages one of the most highly developed examples of late Romantic chamber music. (by Paul Shore)

Clear Lake at Dusk

Clear Lake is many things to many people. The daytime is all about fun and family, but as the night approaches there’s time to sit back and contemplate life. As the sun goes down and the colours begin to fade we can embrace life’s longer lines. We fall in love, find our place in the world, watch our kids grow up and hope that more of humanity will find this kind of peace. (By Pat Carrabre)

Johann Hummel (1778 – 1837) – Piano Quintet Op. 87 for Violin, Viola, Cello, Double Bass and Piano
I. Allegro e risoluto assai
II. Menuetto. Allegro con fuoco
III. Largo
IV. Finale. Allegro agitato
Composed in 1802, when Hummel was around 24 years old
Published in 1822, when Hummel was around 44

Johann Hummel was an Austrian composer and pianist. He was born around the same time as Ludwig van Beethoven and just like Beethoven, Hummel’s compositions represent a transition from the classical style to the romantic style. He showed great musical talent at a young age, and at the age of eight he began receiving lessons from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart which continued for two years. Hummel wrote primarily for the piano, composing piano sonatas, piano concertos, and trios. He composed many works for other instruments as well, including his Trumpet Concerto in E major, a mandolin concerto, a bassoon concerto, several guitar pieces, and over twenty theatrical works. Oddly enough, Hummel never composed a symphonic work. Besides being a famous pianist and composer of his day, Hummel also gained considerable fame through his pedagogical work, A Complete Theoretical and Practical Course of Instruction on the Art of Playing the Piano Forte. This work was published in 1828 and sold thousands of copies in his lifetime.

Johann Hummel’s Piano Quintet, op. 87, was composed around 1802 when he was 24 years old. However, it was published twenty years later in 1822. It is scored for the unusual combination of violin, viola, cello, double bass, and piano. Another work which shares this instrumentation is Schubert’s famous “Trout” Quintet, and it is thought that Schubert may have been inspired by Hummel’s quintet. For his work, Hummel utilizes the standard classical four movement structure, opening with an allegro for the first movement, followed by a menuetto, a slow movement, and then another allegro for the finale. Although bearing the key signature of E-flat major, this work is clearly in the key of E-flat minor throughout. Quite unusually, Hummel chose to remain in the same key for each movement. However, the work is far from lacking contrast; Hummel frequently changes keys within the individual movements to provide striking oscillations in mood. No doubt due to Hummel’s familiarity with the instrument, the piano often takes over with passages displaying great feats of technical virtuosity. ( by Kevin Forfar)