Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Piano quintet

A piano quintet is a chamber ensemble consisting of a piano and four other instruments. After about 1800, these other instruments have tended to be a string quartet. The piano quintet trend grew out of accompanied piano sonatas, divertimentos, and concertos in the second half of the 18th century.
Although there was usually a distinction between the repertoire of piano quintets and concertos, some quintets often resemble concertos in the predominant piano scoring and in their instrumentation throughout the late 18th century. J.C. Bach called for flute and oboe in one work, oboe and viola da gamba in another. Many used strings, but some such as Mozart and Beethoven used only winds. Also, the majority of the composers during the 1770s to 80s were accomplished pianists and scored heavily for piano.
By the middle of the 19th century, works by Schumann, Spohr and Berwald wrote for the conventional instrumentation and extended passages for piano were more rare. These 19th century composers include Brahms, Rimsky-Korsakov, Dvorak, Anton Rubinstein, Saint-Saens, Sibelius, and Granados.