Piano quintet

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A piano quintet is a chamber musical ensemble comprising one piano and four other instruments, or music composed for or played by such a group. In European classical music, the piano quintet most commonly consists of one piano, two violins, a viola, and a cello—that is, a piano with a string quartet.

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Classical and early romantic periods

The combination of piano and four strings first arose during the Classical period, when piano concertos were sometimes performed by piano with string quartet (two violins, a viola, and a cello) accompaniment.[1] However, Classical and early Romantic chamber music was rarely composed for this combination of instruments. More commonly, chamber works for piano quintet, such as the piano quintets of Johann Nepomuk Hummel (1802), Franz Schubert (The Trout, 1819), and Louise Farrenc (1839, 1840), were composed for the grouping of piano, violin, viola, cello and double bass.[2][3]

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven each composed a quintet for piano, oboe, clarinet, horn, and bassoon. These are more often referred to as "quintets for piano and winds" so as to distinguish them from compositions for piano and four strings.

Schumann and the later romantic period

While the Czech composer Jan Ladislav Dussek composed a quintet for piano and string quartet in 1799, it was not until the middle of the Romantic period that music for piano and string quartet solidified into an important form of musical expression. Robert Schumann's Piano Quintet (1842), although not the first chamber work written for this combination of instruments,[4] was immediately popular and widely imitated, virtually creating "a new genre, with a specific aura of Romanticism." [5] The piano quintets of Franz Berwald (1853, 1857), Joachim Raff (1862), Johannes Brahms (1864), César Franck (1882), and Antonín Dvořák (No. 2, 1887) fostered the dominance of Schumann's model.[4] Hermann Goetz's piano quintet (1874), however, is scored for the old-fashioned combination of piano, violin, viola, cello and double-bass.

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