Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Bluebell Klean: Pianoforte Quintet in C minor for Piano, Two Violins, Viola and Violoncello

Last year I posted about Bluebell Klean and her Piano Quintet which was given at the Bechstein Hall on 13 November 1906. Thanks to the energies of Mr Giles Enders who found a copy of the programme notes, I am able to publish a description of this piece. Like the composer's lost Piano Concerto it is surely a desideratum for English Music enthusiast.

The Quintet opens with the announcement by the pianoforte of the principal subject, an eight-bar theme, a characteristic of which is the strong accentuation on the second beat in the bar. Immediately repeated by the strings, the melody is followed by a brief modulatory passage for strings alone, leading into the second subject, in E flat. This is announced by the first violin, and afterwards heard on the pianoforte, its flowing character being designed to form a contrast to the energy of the first subject. The working-out section begins with the principal theme, but differently harmonized, the tonality being now C major. The develop­ment is clear and concise. Much use is made of the phrase contained in the second and third bars of the chief subject, which at one time is used as accompaniment by the pianoforte, while the first violin plays the second subject. In the recapitulation section the second subject is heard in C major, but the movement ends in C minor.

The Andante is commenced by the pianoforte suggesting in a short introduction the principal melody, given out afterwards in its entirety by the cello. The first violin repeats it in a slightly varied form, after which there follow six short variations, respectively in A flat, B flat minor, F sharp minor, C sharp minor, E flat, and B flat minor. The movement concludes with the emphatic delivery of the principal subject in unison by the strings, accompanied by heavy chords on the pianoforte.

The Scherzo is preceded by a short introduction for the strings, founded on the first bar of the chief subject, subsequently announced by the pianoforte, accompanied by light pizzicato chords; after which it is taken up by the first violin, the other instruments having imitative phrases. The Trio section, in G, is begun by the strings only, which give out the theme. Presently the second violin and 'cello have it in E minor, and subsequently it passes to the pianoforte. The return to the first portion is approached by a few passages in imitation, and the number ends with a short Coda.

Eight introductory bars precede the announcement, by the first violin, of the leading subject of the Finale, an allegro in 2-4 measure. This gay and energetic theme is then trans­ferred to the pianoforte, after which the strings appear to discuss between themselves the approach of the second subject, shortly afterwards introduced by the pianoforte. Another passage for strings alone commences the working up of a climax in which the pianoforte joins, and leads to the repetition of the principal theme. Subsequently this subject is treated in what is technically known as augmentation; that is, the duration of each note of the melody is made longer than it was originally. Interest in the music is increased by the entrance in D of a theme of a reposeful nature which provides an expressive contrast to the context. An episodic modulation into E minor brings back the first subject, followed by development in which the second subject and the episodic theme are combined with contrapuntal resource, ultimately leading into a short Coda based on the second subject.
From unsigned programme note (possibly by the composer) 13 November 1906

1 comment:

John France said...

Thanks S. I have contacted you via your writers group..