A new ensemble is introducing themselves: the Philharmonic string players Christophe Horak, Micha Afkham and Bruno Delepelaire have joined forces with the French pianist Kim Barbier to form the Berlin Piano Quartet. At their first performance in the scope of the concerts of the Berliner Philharmoniker Foundation, they will interpret piano quartets by Gabriel Fauré, Alfred Schnittke and Johannes Brahms.
Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor
Piano Quartet in A minor (after Mahler)
Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor
Introduction: 7:00 pm
Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in C minor, op. 15 begins with a grand gesture. The piece was premiered on 14 February 1880 at a concert of the Société National de Musique, established to promote French orchestral and chamber music works. With irresistible momentum, it comes to an end in a rhythmically agile Finale, textured by juxtaposing triplets (predominantly in the piano) against punctuated rhythms in the strings.
Besides Fauré’s Op. 15, Christophe Horak, Micha Afkham and Bruno Delepelaire, who recently founded the Berlin Piano Quartet together with French pianist Kim Barbier, will perform Alfred Schnittke’s piano quartet movement, based on a scherzo fragment by 16-year-old Gustav Mahler. He originally planned to complete the fragment in Mahler’s style, but, Schnittke says, the attempt “to remember something which did not materialise” failed. The German-Russian composer, who has described his own oeuvre as “polystylistic”, eventually came up with another solution in which his own music ultimately flows into the note-by-note quotation of Mahler’s fragment.
Concluding the concert is Johannes Brahms’s Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor, op. 25 – a stunning work which Arnold Schoenberg rightfully called “Brahms’s Fifth”; the massive first movement is offset by the virtuoso, brisk Rondo alla zingarese.