Piano Quintets



First name: Marie-Martin Marcel Vicomte de
Last name: Marin
Dates: 1763-1861
Category: Quintet
Nationality: French
Opus name: Nocturne for Harpe (or Piano Forte) and strings, Opus 14
Peculiarities: imslp Petrucci
Information: Founder of the French School of Harp, his methods and techniques were used by generations of players and composers. His students included Charles Nicolas Robert Bochsa (1789-1856), who was a professor of harp at London’s Royal Academy of Music and Théodore Labarre (1805-1870), who was a professor of harp at the Paris’ Conservatoire. Born in Saint-Jean de Luz, his parents began teaching music to him by the time he was four years old. By seven, he already composed a piano concerto. He travelled to Italy where he studied violin under Nardini, who got to consider him his best student and with whom he made much progress thanks to his great organizational skills. On his return to France, he took harp lessons from Hochbrucker; however, upon realizing that plenty of ideas came to him on their own, he soon decided he would no longer have any other teacher but himself. He found existing harp music terrible, except for Krumpholtz’s compositions. He went even further than the latter, though, both in harmonic boldness and the variety of styles he used. As a harp player he was unrivaled. In a second trip to Italy, in 1783, when he was fourteen years old, he was welcome as a member of the «Rome Arcades», improvised on the street with his harp, played Bach fugues also with his harp and with it he also accompanied other instruments, as if his were a piano. Having returned to France, he entered Versailles’ Military Academy from which he emerged as a captain in 1788. Soon after he obtained a leave to travel; he visited Austria, Prussia and Spain, putting to good use everything he heard and so developing further his triple talent as a violinist, harpist and composer. Far from home at the time of the French Revolution, he was placed on the list of absentees and his properties were expropriated. As his requests to be admitted back into his motherland went unheeded, he decided to go to England. It is here where his skilfulness with the harp reached its zenith of perfection as his gentlemanly qualities and his personal beauty, the nobility of his manners and the variety of his teaching were fully recognized. On his return to France his properties were finally restituted and he retired to Toulouse, where he found alleviation in music. Labarre who in his youth had the chance of listening to, and playing before, Marin Marie Martin understood this artist’s merit and decided to be part of his school. In sum, Marin’s music is truly classical in spirit and will remain as a model for generations of composing harpists. The Nocturne in Quintet op. 14 is his only piece for harp and a string quartet. The introduction, in the form of an Addagio, is a direct immersion into the romantic atmosphere of this piece. It is followed by a quasi-adagio Andantino, which intertwines the harp and string melodies and a lively and rigorous Allegro Agitato and an Addagio that recalls the beginning of the piece and is linked to a classical Minuetto. A Cossack in Rondeau, which demands great technical mastery from the harp concludes this piece beautifully. The first of the two trios for violin, cello and harp on themes by Mozart starts with an Andante Grazioso inspired in the Andante from Piano Trio K542 followed by the Turkish March of the Piano Sonata K331. The Adagio in the second trio takes its inspiration in the adagio of Piano Trio K254 while its Allegretto con Variazioni is inspired in the Allegro from the Violin Sonata K481. The New Grand Sonata opus 31 was written when he was a Cavalry Colonel and consists of four movements. The first is an Adagio; the second is an Allegro Maestoso, which highlights the technical difficulties of the piece and demands a bewildering articulation; the third is an Andante that develops a monotonous chant that is dressed in virtuoso adornments; and the fourth is a classical Rondo. This great sonata is a musical and technical challenge for the harp. (http://www.harpandco.be/parution/cd12.php)