Piano Quintets



First name: Adela
Last name: Maddinson
Dates: 1862-1929
Category: Quintet
Nationality: British
Opus name: Piano Quintet (1916)
Publisher: Silvertrust
Peculiarities: http://www.editionsilvertrust.com/piano--quintets-sextets.htm
Information: Quintet for Piano and Strings Adela Maddison (1862-1929) was born in London to a well-to-do family. Her father was a Vice Admiral. Her musical education was done privately rather than at a conservatory. She was an accomplished pianist and also was interested in composing, primarily vocal works. She married a prominent London barrister who was a director of a London music publishing firm and this circumstance allowed for her art songs and lieder to be published. In London, she became friends of Gabriel Faure along with several other French composers who were then in vogue. In 1898, she moved to Paris where she remained until 1916. While there she became part of the Parisian musical scene was was influenced not only by her good friend Faure but also by Ravel and Debussy among others. Virtually all of her compositions are for voice in one format or another, including 2 operas and a large number of art songs. Her only chamber music work is this piano quintet. Her Piano Quintet was composed in 1916 but because of the First World War was not premiered until 1920. The premiere was a success and the Quintet was highly praised by the critics. Yet, like many other works, it quickly disappeared from the concert stage. Overall, the work sounds French, which is hardly surprising given where Maddison had lived for the past 2 decades and the musical life of which she had been an important part. She does not, however, go so far as to use the French language and terminology but uses the traditional Italian. But there is also something of England in the work, especially in the last two movements. The first movement begins with a Largamente introduction, which immediately captures the listener's attention. The main part of the movement is a heavy, often serious Andante moderato, written on a large scale in the tradition of Cesar Franck. The second movement, Scherzo, presto, is much lighter, almost delicate. The middle section has an elegiac quality. The slow movement, Tranquillamente, ma non troppo lento, is very vocal in quality and here one finds some music of the English countryside. The finale, Allegro vivo, opens with a bright, upbeat theme. No French composer would have penned it and here she sounds like her contemporaries--Stanford and Elgar. This Piano Quintet is a big work, a fascinating blend of French impressionism and English melody. Certainly it would make a very effect choice for the concert hall and deserves to be heard. (Silvertrust)