Piano Quintets: Farrenc and Marshall
March 12, 2010
Spindrift Music presents a chamber music concert featuring two major piano quintets: the New England premiere of Quinteto sobre los Poemas de Carlos Pintado by Pamela Marshall, and Piano Quintet No. 2 by Louise Farrenc, written in 1840. The performers are a stellar group of Boston musicians: Carmen Rodríguez-Peralta, piano; Abigail Karr, violin; Sarah Darling, viola; Rafael Popper-Keizer, cello; Susan Hagen, double bass. Each of the four movements of Marshall's Quinteto is inspired by a poem by Cuban poet Carlos Pintado from Miami. Marshall's music is atmospheric and expressive, at times brooding and dark and at others sparkling, to match the poems. You can hear influences of Messiaen in the piano writing and hints of nature sounds. The first movement, "Nights in Mortefontaine", opens as if in a jungle, with abrupt gestures from the strings illustrating Pintado's words "nights of fierce birds and tigers hidden in the dark". Louise Farrenc was highly regarded in France for her piano playing and her chamber music compositions. The Piano Quintet No. 2, Op. 31 is an extravaganza of piano virtuosity with beautiful ensemble writing for the strings.