Category Archives: Early Music

Schumann Piano Quintet in Es Op.44

Schumann Piano Quintet in E flat major Op.44

Before Schumann wrote this piano quintet, Schubert and Hummel composed piano quintets for Violin, Viola, Cello, Contrabass and Piano. Those quintets would be written for salon music. After Schumann’s success on this new Piano Quintet by string quartet + piano, many composers found the high potential of this new style. Major works by this style were written by Brahms, Dvorak, Franck, and Faure.



When Robert and Clara Schumann visited Bremen and Ortenburg in February, 1842 for their concert tour. Throughout the tour it was not unbearable for Robert that Clara was always highly applauded but he was not so much. He was uncomfortable with the situation and decided to part with Clara and returned Leipzig alone on March 12. Then he had fallen into a deep depression until Clara came back on April 24. Also there was a rumor that Wiek Schumann, Clara’s father had been trying to separate them.During this time he had drowned in beer and champagne, but he also studied ardently counterpoints and string quartets of the classic era.

When Clara came back home, Robert became very happy and he started the year of chamber music. He composed 3 string quartets, Piano Quintet Op.44, and Piano Quartet in 1942. Piano Quintet Op.44 was worked from September 23, 1842 and completed on October 12.


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Enjoy Baroque Music – “415Party”

I would like to explain about a history of 415Party. I like to play early music for many years, and I have used modern instruments with satisfaction for long years. I happened to have an interest in period instruments in the spring of 2009. It started from Viols. I wanted know why viols are once disappeared from musical scene. I read some books but none of them make me really understand, so I bought 2 trebles, 1 tenor and 2 bass viols to find my answer. I asked my friends to play viols and we start enjoying viol consort in about 3 months. Playing late renaissance songs by viol is easy as they have frets if you have some music background. We use late renaissance vocal music like madrigals and chansons. And it was enjoyable for the time being.  However, we found it a little boring and also we feel something is missing. We added 2 recorders, crumhorns and a drum. Then we found we definitely need vocal. I brought in Soprano, Alto, Tenor and Bass. Soprano was opera singer but all of them are amateur singer in view of Renaissance music. We all satisfied the nice group once but we immediately acknowledged that we do not have a lute player. They asked me to play the lute. About one year past, we had a pleasant renaissance music concert with all of us having the experience less than a year. After this concert we came back to viol consort music by Dawland, Simpson, etc.
During the process to achieve the renaissance music group, I fell I found my approach to early music.

I did not invite professionals for any instruments. Reason is that musicians in those days are usually multi-players and even in Rome, Venezia or Firenze it would be impossible to have a concert with high level professionals like now. And we found a great fact that very amateur vocals and very amateur viol players help each other beautifully. For singers, it is really difficult to sing late renaissance madrigals in good tune. For viol players, beautiful voices are good compensation for their small and poor tones.

I remember that I really had tough time to practice and play the lute for 2 month. First, I thought people would not hear my lute well because the volume is small, but it was wrong. In the circumstances of renaissance ensemble, Lute is only one plucked instrument and the audience can distinguish its tone easily.

While we are enjoying consort music, one of my friends asked me to do “415Party” that is for early music of baroque era and it has got started with our basic rules inherited from our experiences of renaissance music that are respect the style of the day and enjoy the fun to be multi-player if needed. 415Party is open to everyone. It is held by 7 to 8 players for recorder, traverse, baroque oboe, baroque fagotto, violin, viola, cello, viol, cembalo from 13:00 to late evening. What about Viols? I will report you probably next time.