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Music Chamber Music
by
John Baron

Introduction

Chamber music is music for a small ensemble of solo instruments that is sophisticated and performed in an intimate setting. This excludes almost all vocal music, unaccompanied solo music, symphonic music, and music that is primarily virtuosic. While solo violin and violoncello music is sometimes regarded as chamber music, it lacks the ensemble component. The core repertory originated in Europe from the 17th century to the present, but increasing contributions have come from other areas of the world. The use of the term “chamber music” as defined here is specific for a type of music since the early 19th century, and this definition is applied retroactively to music of the previous two centuries; earlier uses of the term “music for the chamber” (musica da camera or Kammermusik) often include types of music that do not fit into this definition. Although most early chamber music is for bowed string instruments, winds and keyboard instruments have participated from the beginning, and since the onset of the 20th century percussion instruments have also been accepted in chamber music. Electronic instruments, in conjunction with traditional string and wind instruments, are also frequently found in chamber music since the mid-20th century. Technically, traditional jazz is also chamber music, but discussion of this genre belongs to another entry.

Early History

Historically, as pointed out in Baron 1998, the most important aspect of chamber music is “intimacy.” From about 1550 to 1750, music was characterized by the location of its performance: outdoors, on stage, in church, or in private quarters (i.e., chamber music). At this time, several scoring types were popular in the chamber, especially the trio sonata in England, Italy, and Germany. Apel 1990 gives an extensive list of the Italian contributions, Allsop 1992 summarizes the development of the Italian trio sonata, and Jensen 1972 investigates the terminology used at the time for various versions of the Italian sonata. Daverio 1985 shows how the Italian trio sonata developed from English chamber music through German composers to the chamber suite (sonata da camera). The English consort suite was the source for the Germans, as defined and traced by Meyer 1982 and Field 1992. Ashbee and Holman 1996 concentrates on the works of one of the most important English composers of chamber music, John Jenkins, and in the process gives us a broad view of the English development in general.

  • Allsop, Peter. The Italian “Trio” Sonata: from its Origins until Corelli. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1992.

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    The author gives us a comprehensive history of the Italian trio sonata and a survey of the known examples of this type of chamber music. This is a readable yet scholarly book.

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  • Apel, Willi. Italian Violin Music of the Seventeenth Century. Translated and edited by Thomas Binkley. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1990.

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    Apel names virtually every 17th-century Italian violinist-composer who wrote sonatas and describes their pieces. A series of nine articles in German from 1973 to 1981 in Archiv für Musikwissenschaft presents the material differently. Originally published in German as Die italienische Violinmusik im 17. Jahrhundert (Beihefte zum Archiv für Musikwissenschaft 21; Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1983).

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  • Ashbee, Andrew, and Peter Holman, eds. John Jenkins and His Time: Studies in English Consort Music. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996.

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    Thirteen scholarly essays on Jenkins, an important composer of English chamber music in the 17th century, on his contemporaries, on the ambiances for such music, on the training of performers, on the compositions themselves, on the importation of foreign and local popular music into chamber music, and on the preservation of the original sources.

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  • Baron, John H. Intimate Music: A History of the Idea of Chamber Music. Stuyvesant, NY: Pendragon, 1998.

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    This is a sociological presentation of the history of chamber music. The author considers the situations that led composers and performers to create chamber music from c. 1550 in England to the 1990s in Europe and America. There is no other book-length history of chamber music covering the equivalent period.

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  • Daverio, John. “In Search of the Sonata da Camera before Corelli.” Acta Musicologica 57 (1985): 195–214.

    DOI: 10.2307/932745Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Before the 1630s, canzona was the popular term in Italy for a one-movement instrumental piece subdivided into several sections. The term sonata da chiesa (“church sonata”) replaced it by the 1630s. Later in the century a collection of dances became known as sonata da camera and, the author argues, this transformation came to Italy from England through Germany.

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  • Field, Christopher D. S. “Consort Music, I: Up to 1660.” In The Blackwell History of Music in Britain, vol. 3: The Seventeenth Century. Edited by Ian Spink, 197–244. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992.

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    In England “consort music” meant chamber music. A “whole consort” consisted of instruments from the same family (for example, five sizes of viols or recorders), while a “broken consort” consisted of instruments from different families (for example, a mixture of viols and recorders). The author describes five kinds of consort music: fantasia, works based on a cantus firmus, variations, dances, and fantasia-suites.

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  • Jensen, Niels Martin. “Solo Sonata, Duo Sonata and Trio Sonata: Some Problems of Terminology and Genre in 17th-Century Italian Instrumental Music.” In Festskrift Jens Peter Larsen 1902 14.VI 1972. Edited by Nils Schiørring, Henrik Glahn, and Carsten E. Hatting, 73–101. Copenhagen: Wilhelm Hansen Musik-Forlag, 1972.

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    The 17th-century terminology for chamber music was based on the number of performers without considering the keyboard player. The keyboard player is merely an accompaniment. For example, a trio sonata is a piece for three melody instruments accompanied by the keyboard; the violoncello is a melody instrument to be counted.

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  • Meyer, Ernst Hermann. Early English Chamber Music: From the Middle Ages to Purcell. 2d ed. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1982.

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    A Marxist, the author presents this history in its social context. He shows that “the main stylistic developments of chamber music from Jenkins to Purcell are the slow evolution from polyphony to homophony, and the final victory of dramatic and lyrical, of subjectively emotional elements.” The first edition, published in 1946, was reprinted by Da Capo Press in 1971.

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History Since the Late 18th Century

During the late 18th century, other specific types of music performed in the chamber but based on scoring were established, most notably the string quartet, the string quintet, the piano trio, and the duo sonata. Occasionally vocal music was included. By the early 19th century, chamber music became a purely instrumental genre defined as above and no longer by the location of its performance; it could be performed publicly on stage or privately in the home. Beer 1998 reviews how this change in concept took place. Later in the 19th century, as Finscher 1968 clearly describes, most chamber music performed by amateurs in the home in German countries was called Hausmusik (“house music”), whereas professionals, at home or on the stage, performed serious, often virtuosic chamber music. Since the late 19th century, the “intimacy” of chamber music was inferred whether it was performed privately at home, publicly on the stage, or universally through electronic means. Since the beginning of the 20th century, classical composers have found chamber music an important medium for new music; Vogt and Hilberg 2009 reveals the variety of modern chamber music in just one chamber music festival in Europe.

  • Beer, Axel. “Überlegungen zum Begriff Kammermusik im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert.” In Aspekte der Kammermusik vom 18. Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart. Edited by Christoph-Hellmut Mahling, Kristina Pfarr, and Karl Böhmer, 1–8. Schloss Engers Colloquia zur Kammermusik 1. Mainz: Villa Musica, 1998.

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    An excellent review of the history of the concept of chamber music, derived from discussions in musical literature of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. During this period chamber music was a category of music based on musical structure rather than performance location. The modern definition of chamber music as purely instrumental music is first found in an 1841 article by Robert Schumann. In German.

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  • Finscher, Ludwig. “Hausmusik und Kammermusik.” Musica 22 (1968): 325–329.

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    A good history of Hausmusik, in German. The author defines chamber music as solo instrumental music for two to nine players, and Hausmusik as that chamber music easy enough for the amateur musician to play in one’s own private quarters. This article also appeared in Musik und Verlag: Karl Vötterle zum 65. Geburtstag am 12. April 1968, edited by Richard Baum and Wolfgang Rehm, 67–76 (Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1968).

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  • Vogt, Harry, and Frank Hilberg, eds. Kammerton der Gegenwart: Wittener Tage für neue Kammermusik. Hofheim: Wolke, 2009.

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    While the focus is on the doings of an annual festival of contemporary chamber music in Witten, Germany, a detailed study of the programs gives a good start for understanding current trends in chamber music.

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Reference Works

A few basic reference works are especially useful to anyone who wants information on all aspects of chamber music. Cobbett 2009 is the most comprehensive of these, while Baron 2010 tells you where to go to find literature about chamber music. Large inventories of chamber music in general can be found in Altmann 1923, Tranchefort 1989, and Cohn 1997. De Lerma 1990 lists chamber music by some African American composers. The periodicals Chamber Music Magazine and Chamber Music Journal help to keep performers and devotees up on the latest issues regarding chamber music.

  • Altmann, Wilhelm. Chamber Music Literature: Catalogue of Chamber Music Works Published since 1841. New York: C. Fischer, 1923.

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    Published originally in German as Kammermusik-literatur: Verzeichnis von seit 1841 erschienenen Kammermusikwerken (1910; 6th ed. 1945; reprint 1967), Altmann’s popular list of available chamber music editions includes many works published before 1841 as well as later. Johannes Friedrich Richter’s Kammermusik-Katalog: Verzeichnis der von 1944 bis 1958 veröffentlichten Werke für Kammermusik . . . (1960) brings Altmann’s list up to 1960. Essential for performers looking for repertory.

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  • Baron, John H. Chamber Music: A Research and Information Guide. 3d ed. New York and London: Routledge, 2010.

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    An annotated bibliography of more than twenty-eight hundred studies of chamber music. Originally published in 1987.

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  • Chamber Music Journal.

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    A British journal, published by the Cobbett Association since 1990, that specializes in articles about less-often-played chamber music.

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  • Chamber Music Magazine.

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    All aspects of the current chamber music scene. Published by Chamber Music America (New York) since 1984, it was preceded by American Ensemble (1978–1983).

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  • Cobbett, Walter W. Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music. 2 vols. London: Travis & Emery, 2009.

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    Though a little dated, this remains a valuable, enormous, overall discussion of many aspects of chamber music, including specific composers, compositions, performing groups, and technical matters for performers. The first two volumes were originally published in 1929, and the third volume, edited by Colin Mason, in 1963, with a first full reprint edition from Oxford University Press in 1964.

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  • Cohn, Arthur. The Literature of Chamber Music. 4 vols. Chapel Hill, NC: Hinshaw Music, 1997.

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    The most comprehensive list of the chamber music repertory. The entries, however, do not contain the details that Cobbett, Altmann, and Tranchefort have.

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  • De Lerma, Dominique-René. “Bibliography of the Music: The Concert Music of the Harlem Renaissance Composers, 1919–35.” In Black Music in the Harlem Renaissance: A Collection of Essays. Edited by Samuel A. Floyd Jr., 175–217. Contributions in Afro-American and African Studies 128. New York: Greenwood, 1990.

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    De Lerma includes, among other genres, the chamber music by J. Harold Brown, William Levi Dawson, R. Nathaniel Dett, Edmund T. Jenkins, Florence Price, Clarence C. White, and Frederick J. Work.

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  • Tranchefort, François-René, ed. Guide de la musique de chamber. Paris: Fayard, 1989.

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    A French guide to the composers of chamber music and their chamber compositions. Although not as complete as Altmann and sketchy on pre-Haydn chamber music, Tranchefort does include recent French composers who are overlooked in other guides. Of use to performers are detailed reviews of specific works and approximate durations.

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Strings

From its earliest manifestations in the 16th century, most chamber music has been scored for string instruments, as is discussed in Finscher 2001. Initially, in England lutes and viols were used, while in Italy the violins (including violas, violoncellos, and other members of that family) were preferred. In the 17th century, the violin family replaced the others in England and elsewhere in Europe. From then until the 20th century, the violin family predominated in chamber music. Since the early 20th century, winds and percussion have assumed an increasing place in chamber music, and since the mid-20th century, electronic devices have been used as well. Non-bowed string instruments, such as harps, lutes, and guitars, now and then participate in chamber music. How solo string instruments have been combined to form various kinds of chamber music (duets, trios, quartets, quintets, sextets, and other combinations) has been the focus of most of the literature about chamber music.

  • Finscher, Ludwig, and Laurenz Lütteken. Streicherkammermusik. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 2001.

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    This is a collection of articles, in German, on various types of string chamber music originally appearing in the second edition of the leading German encyclopedia of music, Die Musik in Geschichte und Gegenwart. They were written by distinguished musicologists from all over the world.

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Duets

The simplest combination of string players is the duet. While the duet for two violins was cultivated by many composers, those of Viotti (discussed by von Riehl 1899 and Bartók (Doflein 1955 tells why these were written) are probably the best known. The most famous duets for violin and viola are the two by Mozart, written to fulfill a commission that Michael Haydn was unable to finish, but Zeyringer 1976 shows that there are others as well. Duets for violin and violoncello are also common; Iotti 1972 lists a substantial number of such duets, while Mellado 1979 analyzes specific violin-violoncello duets by several 20th-century composers. Sannemüller 1975 deals with the structure of the Ravel violin-violoncello duet. There are other combinations, many of which are listed by Mazurowicz 1982). Among the better-known unusual combinations are the duets for violin and guitar by Paganini that extend the duet to plucked strings as well; Sebastiani 2005 has uncovered new sources for these duets.

  • Doflein, Erich. “A propos des ‘44 Duos pour Deux Violons’ de Bartok.” Revue Musicale 224 (1955): 110–112.

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    Doflein commissioned Bartók to write a set of duets for two violins in 1930, and Bartók complied the following year. In this article, the author briefly tells how he asked the composer for works easy enough for good students to play. In French.

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  • Iotti, Oscar R. Violin and Violoncello in Duo without Accompaniment. Detroit Studies in Music Bibliography 25. Detroit: Information Coordinators, 1972.

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    A substantial list of duets for violin and violoncello, with title, original date, and current publisher.

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  • Mazurowicz, Ulrich. Das Streichduett in Wien von 1760 bis zum Tode Joseph Haydns. Eichstätter Abhandlungen zur Musikwissenschaft 1. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1982.

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    The author studies the various scoring possibilities of the string duet from 1760 to 1807 in Vienna. He considers such stylistic features as dialogue and concertant in the duets of Mozart, M. Haydn, I. Pleyel, Vanhal, Wranizky, Boccherini, Albrechtsberger and others, and he gives a large thematic catalogue of their pieces. In German.

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  • Mellado, Daniel. “A Study of 20th-Century Duets for Violin and Violoncello.” Ph.D. diss., Michigan State University, 1979.

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    The author gives a short history and a list of the duet for violin and violoncello, and then studies specific examples by the 20th-century composers Glière, Ravel, Kodály, Villa-Lobos, Toch, Martinú, Honegger, and Rochberg.

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  • Riehl, Wilhelm Heinrich von. “Viotti und das Geigenduett.” In Musikalische Charakterköpfe: ein kunstgeschichtliches Skizzenbuch. Vol. 2. 7th ed. By Wilhelm Heinrich von Riehl, 151–182. Stuttgart: J. G. Cotta-sche Buchhandlung, 1899.

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    The classic study of the duets of Viotti, which the author claims were written for the composer himself, for artists, and for amateurs as Hausmusik and which are still performed in that setting. The last four pages deal with the role of women in Hausmusik. The first edition appeared in 1853.

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  • Sannemüller, Gerd. “Die Sonate für Violine und Violoncello von Maurice Ravel.” Die Musikforschung 28 (1975): 408–419.

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    Sannemüller analyzes motives, rhythms, and intervals in the Ravel duet composed from 1920 to 1922. This same sonata is studied in Mellado 1979. In German.

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  • Sebastiani, Adriano. “Niccoló Paganini and His Chamber Music with Guitar: Part I.” Translated by Richard M. Long. Soundboard 31.2–3 (2005): 51–56.

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    Paganini published twelve sonatas for violin and guitar and six quartets for guitar, violin, viola, and violoncello. Now Sebastiani announces that many new chamber works by Paganini for these instruments have just been discovered, some from the estate of his pupil, Camillio Sivori.

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  • Zeyringer, Franz. Literatur für Viola: Verzeichnis. 2d ed. Hartberg, Austria: Julius Schönwetter Jr., 1976.

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    Within this extensive catalogue of music for viola, Zeyringer lists duets for the viola with various other instruments. Earlier editions appeared in 1963 and 1965. In German and English.

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Trios

The string trio has not achieved the status of the piano trio, but because it became a popular type of Hausmusik, Unverricht 1969 shows that there is a large repertory of string trios, particularly from the 19th century. Yet the virtuosic trios for violin, viola, and violoncello by Beethoven give the genre credibility; the two trios of Opus 9 are discussed respectively by Jennings 1999 and Platen 1967. Among the most important string trios of this sort in the 20th century is that by Schoenberg, which is scrutinized in detail by Cherlin 1998. Just as popular as Beethoven’s scoring are trios for two violins and violoncello. Haydn created his own genre by writing more than one hundred trios for viola, bass, and baryton (a variation of the violoncello that included plucked strings behind the neck of the instrument); Unverricht 1971 dates the many Haydn trios, Sisman 1986 gives a historical account, and Gartrell 2009 writes a monumental study of the baryton instrument.

  • Cherlin, Michael. “Memory and Rhetorical Trope in Schoenberg’s String Trio.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 51 (1998): 559–602.

    DOI: 10.1525/jams.1998.51.3.03a00050Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Cherlin uses Schoenberg’s own theories to analyze the Trio. For advanced music theorists.

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  • Gartrell, Carol A. A History of the Baryton and Its Music: King of Instruments, Instrument of Kings. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2009.

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    A thorough history and study of the instrument, its makers, the composers who wrote for it, the performers who played it, performance practices on this unusual instrument, and the circumstances in which it was used. The baryton was often used in chamber music settings.

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  • Jennings, Linda Gail. “Structural Integration and Harmonic Progression in Beethoven’s String Trio in C Minor.” DMA diss., University of Texas at Austin, 1999.

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    Jennings analyzes the Opus 9, No. 3 String Trio, in C Minor, by Beethoven. She finds a powerful dynamic energy through tonalities and motives that link the four movements into an organic unity. See also Platen 1967.

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  • Platen, Emil. “Beethovens Steichtrio D-Dur, opus 9 Nr. 2: Zum Problem der thematischen Einheit mehrsätziger Formen.” In Colloquium Amicorum: Joseph Schmidt-Görg zum 70. Geburtstag. Edited by Siegfried Kross and Hans Schmidt, 260–282. Bonn: Beethovenhaus, 1967.

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    Platen, like Jennings 1999, notes thematic unity among movements in a string trio of Opus 9 by Beethoven: No. 2. This strengthens the important position that these string trios have in the overall compositional practice of Beethoven. The discussion is primarily for scholars.

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  • Sisman, Elaine R. “Haydn’s Baryton Pieces and his Serious Genres.” In Joseph Haydn: Bericht über den Internationalen Joseph Haydn Kongress (Wien, Hofburg, 5.–12. September 1982). Edited by Eva Badura-Skoda, 426–435. Munich: G. Henle, 1986.

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    Sisman traces the evolution of Haydn’s baryton trios in terms of form, technique, texture, and melodic development from the earliest ones to the last.

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  • Unverricht, Hubert. Geschichte des Streichtrios. Mainzer Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 2. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1969.

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    The author distinguishes the string trio from the trio sonata of an earlier epoch, and then shows how it developed over the ensuing centuries. He is concerned with the social situations in which it was performed, the various styles, and performance practices. There is a huge bibliography and many ideas for repertory. In German.

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  • Unverricht, Hubert. “Zur Chronologie der Barytontrios von Joseph Haydn.” In Symbolae Historiae Musicae: Hellmut Federhofer zum 60. Geburtstag. Edited by Friedrich Wilhelm Riedel and Hubert Unverricht, 180–189. Mainz: B. Schott’s Söhne, 1971.

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    In this article, Unverricht carefully dates the first hundred baryton trios by Haydn to 1765–1771 and the remaining twenty-six or twenty-seven to 1771 to 1774.

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Quartets

The string quartet is usually the combination of two violins, viola, and violoncello. Although there are a few examples of this combination of instruments before the mid-18th century, the string quartet as a specific genre is first encountered in Madrid and in Italy in the 1750s, when there are references to string quartet ensembles. The most important composer of the early string quartet is Josef Haydn, whose sixty-eight quartets mark the development of the genre. Mozart, influenced by Haydn, also made important early contributions, which, in turn, had an impact on the older Haydn. Beethoven, under the spell of Haydn and Mozart, wrote probably the greatest string quartets; in turn, no string quartet composer since the first decade of the 19th century has been able to avoid the influence of Beethoven. Bartók and Shostakovich were the most significant composers of the string quartet in the 20th century.

Early History

Recent overall histories of the string quartet are by Krummacher 2005 (which is the most comprehensive), Fournier 2000 (which, from a French perspective, includes works not mentioned by Krummacher 2005), and Finscher 2001 cited in Strings (which includes a summary of the author’s many studies on the string quartet). Parker 2005 gives an extensive bibliography of studies of all aspects of the string quartet. During the 1750s and 1760s, when the string quartet first appears, there is some ambiguity as to how the bottom or bass line was performed, and this question is studied from different perspectives by Webster 1973, Webster 1977a, and Webster 1977b. Drüner 1979 has pointed out that occasionally the string quartet consisted of one violin, two violas, and violoncello.

  • Drüner, Ulrich. “Eine Sonderform des klassischen Streichquartetts: Quartette für Violine, zwei Bratsche und Cello.” Das Orchester 27 (1979): 644–645.

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    A brief history of this unusual scoring of the string quartet from c. 1760 to c. 1830.

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  • Fournier, Bernard. L’histoire du quatuor à cordes. 2 vols. Paris: Fayard, 2000–2004.

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    A large encyclopedia of the string quartet, with analyses of the most significant compositions by the major composers. Vol. 1, Haydn to Brahms; vol. 2, 1870–1945, is particularly important since it covers a repertory generally not found in the English and German studies and catalogues. In French.

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  • Krummacher, Friedhelm. Geschichte des Streichquartetts. 2d ed. 3 vols. Laaber, Germany: Laaber-Verlag, 2005.

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    Vol. 1, Die Zeit der Wiener Klassik; vol. 2, Romantik und Moderne; vol. 3, Neue Musik und Avantgarde. Krummacher has assembled the largest and best history of the string quartet from its origins to the beginning of the 21st century. He considers the compositions, the performers, the analysts, and the critics along the way, and his work is well documented. In German. Published originally as Das Streichquartett in Handbuch der musikalischen Gattungen, edited by Siegfried Mauser (Laaber, Germany: Laaber-Verlag, 2001–2003).

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  • Parker, Mara E. String Quartets: A Research and Information Guide. New York: Routledge, 2005.

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    A thorough, annotated bibliography of studies of the string quartet, including writings on the history, definition, bibliographies, composers, performances, and performers of the string quartet, as well as lists of facsimile and critical editions.

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  • Webster, James. “The Bass Part in Haydn’s Early String Quartets and in Austrian Chamber Music, 1750–80.” Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1973.

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    The bass line in the ten early Haydn quartets (entitled “divertimenti”) did not designate specific instrumentation. When the divertimento was solistic, the “basso” line could have been performed by the violoncello or the string bass. Though they are problematic, these quartets (prior to Op. 9) were probably performed by solo instruments and with the violoncello.

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  • Webster, James. “Violoncello and Double Bass in the Chamber Music of Haydn and His Viennese Contemporaries 1750–80.” Journal of the American Musicological Society 29 (1977a): 413–438.

    DOI: 10.1525/jams.1976.29.3.03a00040Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Building on his dissertation (Webster 1973), Webster discusses the actual performers available to Haydn at his workplace at Esterhaz in Hungary. The evidence lends a little more support to the use of the violoncello in his early quartets, but the issue remains open.

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  • Webster, James. “The Bass Part in Haydn’s Early String Quartets.” Musical Quarterly 63 (1977b): 390–424.

    DOI: 10.1093/mq/LXIII.3.390Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Webster again builds on his dissertation (Webster 1973), with no new evidence for the performance of the basso part of his early quartets but with further discussion for their solistic performance.

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The Late 18th Century

The string quartet developed rapidly during the second half of the 18th century, primarily in the works of Josef Haydn and W. A. Mozart. The most accurate study of the early development is Finscher 1974. A definitive study of Haydn’s quartets is Grave and Grave 2006. Numerous studies of Mozart’s quartets are cited in Baron 2010 in Reference Works. Other important composers of the time were G. G. Cambini (discussed in Roncaglia 1962 and, more thoroughly, in Trimpert 1967), L. Boccherini (discussed historically in Salvetti 1973 and analyzed in Speck 2005), and G. B. Viotti (discussed in Fischer 1990).

  • Finscher, Ludwig. Studien zur Geschichte des Streichquartetts, I: Die Entstehung des klassischen Streichquartetts von den Vorformen zur Grundlegung durch Joseph Haydn. Saarbrücker Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 3. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1974.

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    Finscher is Germany’s leading scholar on the early string quartet, and this book is his primary study of that topic. The two earliest composers of real quartets were Boccherini and Haydn in the 1750s. He compares different types of compositions of that time with the classical string quartet, and traces Haydn’s development of the quartet idea from his Op. 1 to his Op. 33 quartets. In German.

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  • Fischer, Klaus. “G. B. Viotti und das Streichquartett des späten 18. Jahrhunderts.” In International Musicological Society: Congress Report XIV = Atti del xiv congresso della società internazionale di musicologia, [Bologna: 1987], vol. 3, 753–767. Turin: Edizioni E.D.T., 1990.

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    Viotti’s (1755–1824) twelve early quartets reflect the two- or three-movement works of the Mannheim and Parisian schools, while his last three quartets, influenced by Haydn, are in four movements. Fischer gives the history of these quartets and introduces them to us. According to Salvetti 1973, Viotti’s quartets featured a virtuosic first violin. In German.

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  • Grave, Floyd K., and Margaret Grave. The String Quartets of Joseph Haydn. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195173574.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    The authors accurately present virtually everything one needs to know about the Haydn quartets: the actual repertory (since the 1960s it has been known that Haydn wrote sixty-eight, not eighty-one string quartets), their character, texture, ensemble technique, and forms, and their history.

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  • Roncaglia, Gino. “Giovanni Giuseppe Cambini quartettista.” In Musiche Italiane Rare e Vive da Giovanni Gabrieli a Giuseppe Verdi. Edited by Adelmo Damerini and Gino Roncaglia, 293–299. Siena: Accademia Musicale Chigiana, 1962.

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    A short but comprehensive article about Cambini, who was active in Paris and who wrote at least 144 string quartets (Trimpert 1967 has a different number). The author compares Cambini’s works to those by Tartini, Boccherini, Haydn and Mozart, among others. Despite their reputation for superficiality, some of the quartets are inspired and well-written.

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  • Salvetti, Guido. “Luigi Boccherini nell’ambito del quartetto italiano del secondo Settecento.” In Studien zur italienisch-deutschen Musikgeschichte 8. Edited by Friedrich Lippmann, 227–252. Analecta Musicologica 12. Cologne: Arno Volk, 1973.

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    A scholarly history of the Italian string quartet at the same time as the Viennese quartets of Haydn and Mozart and the French quartets of Cambini. The string quartets of Boccherini serve as the focal point of this history, not only because he wrote so many such pieces but also because, as a violoncellist, he was one of the earliest performers to participate in regular performances of quartets.

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  • Speck, Christian. “Über Zusammenhänge zwischen thematischer Arbeit und metrischer Reguliertheit des musikalischen Baus in der Streichquartett–komposition von Luigi Boccherini.” Ad Parnassum 3 (April 2005): 7–22.

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    Abstract in English on p. 141. Boccherini wrote ninety-one string quartets from 1761 to 1804, most in two or three movements. In these he established the concertizing quartet, wherein the first violinist dominates and is accompanied by the other three instruments. Speck studies the rhythmic and thematic aspects of Boccherini’s style, which are not conducive to development, and compares them to Haydn’s quartets.

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  • Trimpert, Dieter Lutz. Die Quatuors Concertants von Giuseppe Cambini. Mainzer Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 1. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 1967.

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    A study of Cambini and the 18th-century French school of string chamber music. Besides 174 quartets, Cambini also wrote 114 quintets and chamber music including winds and piano. Many are concertant, in which all instruments are of equal importance; others are quatuors d’airs, which are quartets based on popular opera airs. Includes a thematic catalog of Cambini’s chamber music.

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Beethoven

With Beethoven’s quartets, the genre was established as, arguably, the most significant in the history of European art music. The vast literature on these quartets includes such excellent overall summaries as de Marliave 1928 (the quartets in historical context), Radcliffe 1978 (a layperson’s guide to each quartet), Kerman 1967 (a critical and historical study of each quartet), Lonchampt 1956 (valuable for showing the impact of the Beethoven quartets on important writers), and Winter and Martin 1994 (a comprehensive history of the quartets and sensitive analysis of each one for both layperson and scholar).

  • de Marliave, Joseph. Beethoven’s Quartets. Translated by Hilda Andrews. London: John Johnson for Oxford University Press, 1928.

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    An important pioneering study of the Beethoven quartets. The analyses of the individual quartets are based less on the music itself and more on the biographical situation of Beethoven. Originally published in French as Les Quatuors de Beethoven, edited by Jean Escarra (Paris: Librairie Félix Alcan, 1925). The English edition was reprinted in 1961 and 2004 by Dover, New York. Kerman 1967 critiques Marliave’s work.

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  • Kerman, Joseph. The Beethoven Quartets. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1967.

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    Kerman’s insight into the quartets stands without parallel. He analyzes each quartet and places them all in historical context. He knows the critiques of the quartets by all his predecessors and evaluates them convincingly. While more recent studies have added additional technical information, none has surpassed Kerman’s book for aesthetic understanding.

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  • Lonchampt, Jacques. Les Quatuors à cordes de Beethoven. Cahiers du Journal Musical Français 15. Paris: Société Française de Diffusion Musicale et Artistique, 1956.

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    The principal strength of Lonchampt’s book is the quotations from many distinguished personages of the 19th and 20th centuries on each quartet. These quotations tell us little about each piece but demonstrate the importance of the quartets to the artistic and literary leaders of these two centuries.

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  • Radcliffe, Philip. Beethoven’s String Quartets. 2d ed. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1978.

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    The author discusses each of the Beethoven quartets for the layperson and compares them to string quartets by Mozart, Haydn, and Schubert. Originally published in 1965 (London: Hutchinson University Library).

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  • Winter, Robert, and Robert Martin. The Beethoven Quartet Companion. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994.

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    First there is a series of essays by some of the world’s most distinguished Beethoven experts detailing the history of the Beethoven string quartets and the context in which they were written. Then Michael Steinberg analyzes each quartet. A wonderful introduction to the quartets for the beginner and a useful guide for performers and scholars.

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The Rest of the 19th Century

Many great 19th-century composers followed Beethoven with string quartets, though only a few (such as Schubert, Mendelssohn, and Dvořák) wrote more than a handful that are in the standard repertory. All these quartets are discussed in vol. 2 of the exhaustive Krummacher 2005 (cited in Early History). For the chronology of the Schubert quartets, see Deutsch 1943 and Deutsch 1951, and for an analysis of his quartets, see Hinrichsen 2006. A detailed analysis of all the quartets of Mendelssohn is Kohlhase 1977, and a similarly thorough study of the quartets of Dvořák is Schick 1990.

  • Deutsch, Otto Erich. “The Chronology of Schubert’s String Quartets.” Music and Letters 24 (1943): 25–30.

    DOI: 10.1093/ml/24.1.25Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Deutsch, one of the leading scholars on Schubert during the first half of the 20th century, lists all that is known about nineteen string quartets by Schubert, including lost examples. While somewhat dated, this remains basic reference on the Schubert string quartets.

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  • Deutsch, Otto Erich. Schubert: Thematic Catalogue of All his Works in Chronological Order. New York: W.W. Norton, 1951.

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    This definitive catalogue of Schubert’s opus includes all the string quartets and other chamber music as well.

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  • Hinrichsen, Hans-Joachim. “Berührung der Extreme: Zum Streichquartett-oeuvre Franz Schuberts.” In Beiträge 2006: Musikalische Gesprächskultur: Das Streichquartett im habsburgischen Vielvölkerstaat: Symposion 25–27. April 2002. Edited by Manfred Angerer, Carmen Ottner, and Eike Rathgeber, 33–45. Beiträge der Österreichischen Gesellschaft für Musik 12. Vienna: Doblinger, 2006.

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    Hinrichsen analyzes all the movements for string quartet by Schubert, with special attention to borrowed material. In German.

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  • Kohlhase, Hans. “Studien zur Form in den Streichquartetten von Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy.” Hamburger Jahrbuch für Musikwissenschaft 2 (1977): 75–104.

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    Kohlhase analyzes, in depth, each of the movements in Mendelssohn’s six published string quartets. In German, for the scholar.

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  • Schick, Hartmut. Studien zu Dvoráks Streichquartetten. Neue Heidelberger Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 17. Laaber, Germany: Laaber-Verlag, 1990.

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    The most important overall study of the quartets of Dvořák. Schick analyzes and places into historical context each of Dvořák’s fourteen complete quartets as well as fragments and revisions.

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Since 1900

There are many important 20th-century string quartets, nearly all of which are listed in Krummacher 2005, vol. 3; (cited in Early History) Jones 2009 includes essays on many of the most significant ones. Both Gruhle 2005 and Stoll 2006 bring the discussion into the 21st century.

  • Gruhle, Wolfgang. Streichquartett-Lexikon: Komponisten Werke Interpreten. 3d ed. Gelnhausen, Germany: TRIGA, 2005.

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    It is not complete or without error, but generally this is a useful list of composers and performers of string quartets, with data about both. Earlier editions appeared in 1996 and 1999.

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  • Jones, Evan, ed. Intimate Voices: The Twentieth Century String Quartet. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 2009.

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    A collection of essays by various scholars on specific quartets from the end of the 19th to the end of the 20th century by Debussy, Ravel, Sibelius, Bartók, Hindemith, Schoenberg, Berg, Villa-Lobos, Prokofiev, Shostakovich, Britten, Ligeti, Berio, Xenakis, Giacinto Scelsi, John Cage, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, Mel Powell, and Shulamit Ran.

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  • Stoll, Rolf W., ed. “Streichquartett.” Neue Zeitschrift für Musik 162.2 (March–April 2006): 12–54.

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    This special issue of Neue Zeitschrift für Musik consists of ten scholarly articles on the late-20th-century string quartet. Several deal with those by lesser-known composers (Michael Kunkel, Michael Reudenbach, Heinz Holliger, Gottfried Michael Koenig, Franz Martin Olbrisch, Jörg Widmann, and Heinz-Klaus Metzger), while others consider in general the aims and aesthetics of late-20th-century German quartet writers.

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Quintets

Boccherini and Cambini wrote hundreds of string quintets during the second half of the 18th century, mostly for two violins, viola, and two violoncellos. Their contemporaries added hundreds more. The most famous string quintets, however, are the six by Mozart for two violins, two violas, and violoncello; Sieber 1983 considers them distinct from the string quartet, but Rosen 1997 regards them as an inevitable growth from the string quartet. Hill 1985 challenges some of Sieber’s assumptions, showing that Sieber was not careful in the choice of repertory that was under discussion. The genre was continued in the 19th century by Beethoven, Schubert, Spohr, Onslow, Cherubini, Mendelssohn, Gade, Borodin, Anton Rubinstein, Karl Goldmark, Rheinberger, Bruckner, Brahms, Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843–1900), Dvořák, Nielsen, and Glasunov, as discussed by Bartels 1996.

  • Bartels, Katrin. Das Streichquintett im 19. Jahrhundert, mit einem Notenbeiheft. 2 vols. Göttingen, Germany: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1996.

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    Bartels, in her well-researched, analytical study of 19th-century string quintets, demonstrates that the quintets of Mozart, Schubert, and, especially, Mendelssohn were the models for subsequent quintets and, therefore, the string quintet can be considered a musical genre. In German.

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  • Hill, George R. Review of Sieber (1983). Notes (June 1985): 723–724.

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    Hill’s review of Sieber’s study must be read in conjunction with Sieber 1983. Hill cites specific errors in Sieber’s choice of repertory that negates part of his work.

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  • Rosen, Charles. The Classical Style: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven. Enlarged 3d ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 1997.

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    In his prize-winning study, Rosen finds the viola quintets a richer fulfillment of what Mozart accomplished in his quartets. First edition, 1971.

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  • Sieber, Tilman. Das klassische Streichquintett: Quellenkundliche und gattungsgeschichtliche Studien. Neue Heidelberger Studien zur Musikwissenschaft 10. Bern: Francke Verlag, 1983.

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    While there is a useful discussion of many string quintets of the classical period, Sieber’s choice of repertory includes quintets that Hill 1985 insists are not chamber pieces and which are falsely analyzed. Hill also faults Sieber for ignoring scholarship on the subject by non-German writers after 1970. In German.

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Other String Ensembles

Aside from the string ensembles listed in other subsections, there is a variety of other combinations of string instruments for six or more solo players. The third volume of Altmann 1972–1974 lists many sextets, septets, and octets. Perhaps the most famous sextet is that by Brahms. Wilson 2005 presents a simple analysis of the piece, whereas Ruf 1984 gives a much more intense analysis; Avins 2003 places the sextet in historical context, and Kube 2001 describes the circumstances in which Brahms’s work was composed. The most famous octet, that by Mendelssohn, is analyzed in detail by Chittum 1982, while Gerlach 1972 compares it to other works by Mendelssohn. When major composers turn to the septet, they always include winds (see mixed scoring). An interesting string nonet is that by Aaron Copland, which Plaistow 1963 argues is a rejection by the composer of his more radical style of the 1950s.

  • Altmann, Wilhelm. Handbuch für Streichquartettspieler: Ein Führer durch die Literatur des Streichquartetts. 2d ed. 4 vols. Wilhelmshaven, Germany: Heinrichshofen’s Verlag, 1972–1974.

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    Vol. 3 discusses trios, quintets, sextets, septets, and octets for strings only. The author presents the repertory and briefly discusses each composition. Of particular interest are lesser-known works by minor composers from c. 1880 to the 1920s. The first edition appeared in three volumes (Berlin: M. Hesse, 1928–1929). In German.

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  • Avins, Styra. “Brahms Observed: Carl Georg Peter Grädener with Brahms in Vienna.” American Brahms Society Newsletter 21.1 (Spring 2003): 1–5; 21.2 (Autumn 2003): 5–8.

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    Grädener (1812–1883) was a friend of Brahms during his early years in Vienna, when the composer was writing his String Sextet Op. 18. This is an interesting description of the circumstances in which the piece was composed.

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  • Chittum, Donald. “Einige Beobachtungen zur Ton-und Intervallstruktur in Mendelssohns Oktett Op. 20.” In Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Edited by Gerhard Schuhmacher, 277–304. Wege der Forschung 494. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1982.

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    A technical study of the themes, harmonies, and tonality in the octet, aimed at music theorists. In German.

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  • Gerlach, Reinhard. “Mendelssohns schöpferische Erinnerung der ‘Jugendzeit’: Die Beziehungen zwischen dem Violinkonzert, op. 64, und dem Oktett für Streicher, op. 20.” Die Musikforschung 25 (1972): 142–152.

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    Gerlach draws attention to resemblances between melodic and aesthetic elements of the early octet and those of the mature violin concerto written twenty years later. Reprinted in Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, edited by Gerhard Schuhmacher, 248–262 (Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1982). In German.

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  • Kube, Michael, “Brahms’ Streichsextette und ihr gattungsgeschichtlicher Kontext.” In Die Kammermusik von Johannes Brahms: Tradition und Innovation: Bericht über die Tagung Wien 1997. Edited by Gernot Gruber, 149–174. Schriften zur musikalischen Hermeneutik 8. Laaber, Germany: Laaber-Verlag, 2001.

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    In the course of discussing the Brahms sextets, the author presents an overall study of the string sextet from the end of the 18th century to 1918. In German.

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  • Plaistow, Stephen. “Some Notes on Copland’s Nonet.” Tempo 64 (Spring 1963): 6–11.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0040298200027996Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Plaistow finds Copland’s Nonet (1960) for three violins, three violas, and three violoncellos a rejection by the composer of his more modern style of the 1950s.

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  • Ruf, Wolfgang. “Die zwei Sextette von Brahms: Eine analytische Studie.” In Brahms-Analysen: Referate der Kieler Tagung 1983. Edited by Friedhelm Krummacher and Wolfram Steinbeck, 121–133. Kieler Schriften zur Musikwissenschaft 28. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 1984.

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    Ruf analyzes the two early sextets by Brahms (Opp. 18 and 36) in terms of scoring, form, melody, harmony, and other traditional areas of analysis that make his article accessible to nonspecialist as well as professional theorists. He ponders the issue of whether or not Brahms was thinking orchestrally or in terms of intimate chamber music. In German.

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  • Wilson, Conrad. Notes on Brahms: 20 Crucial Works. Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans, 2005.

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    The author writes brief, nontechnical reviews of twenty chamber works by Brahms, among which is a chapter on the String Sextet Op. 18.

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Piano and Strings

The piano is often criticized as incompatible with bowed strings in chamber music, but the vast repertory for piano in this situation contradicts such a belief, as discussed in Hinson 2006. Most frequently the keyboard occurs in duets, usually as sonatas. The trio for piano, violin, and violoncello developed in the late 18th century and has remained a staple of the chamber music repertory until the present. The piano quartet (piano, violin, viola, and violoncello) is less common, and the piano quintet (piano with string quartet) is relatively rare, although the great examples by Schumann, Brahms, Franck, and Shostakovich have given it a special place in the hearts of chamber music devotees.

  • Hinson, Maurice. The Piano in Chamber Ensemble: An Annotated Guide. 2d ed. Bloomington: University of Indiana Press, 2006.

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    A huge list of chamber music of all kinds including the piano, not only with strings but with an assortment of woodwinds, brass, percussion, and electronic tape as well. An indispensable guide, especially for pianists who are seeking chamber music repertory. The book was first published in 1962, reprinted in 1978, and came out in paperback in 1996.

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Sonatas for Piano (Keyboard) and Violin

Prior to the mid-18th century, chamber music for keyboard and strings entailed the harpsichord or organ as accompaniment (French sonatas in La Laurencie 1922–1924 and Beckmann 1975). The keyboard first became an equal partner in the violin and cembalo sonatas by J. S. Bach. Eppstein 1966 argues that since Bach wrote these sonatas for three lines of music (the solo violin and the two hands of the keyboard), they are trios (see also Jensen 1972 in Early History); Dürr 1968 accepts Eppstein’s assertions with qualifications. The sonata for solo violin and piano developed through several stages during the middle of the 18th century in the works of Schobert and young Mozart and emerged as an important new type of chamber music by the later sonatas for piano and violin by Mozart. The basic repertory is discussed by Loft 1973, a distinguished violinist and teacher, and by Berger 1991, a well-known program annotator. Beethoven continued this tradition in his ten sonatas for piano and violin. During the 19th and 20th centuries many of the greatest masters wrote powerful sonatas for violin and piano, such as R. Schumann, Felix Mendelssohn, Brahms, Franck, Reger, R. Strauss, Beach, Debussy, Bartók, Hindemith (Hambourg 1977), Shostakovich, and Schnittke.

  • Beckmann, Gisela. Die französische Violinsonate mit Basso Continuo von Jean-Marie Leclair bis Pierre Gaviniés. Hamburger Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft 15. Hamburg: Karl Dieter Wagner, 1975.

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    Beckmann places the sonatas by twenty-two French composers of the second half of the 18th century in historical context, describes the pieces, and analyzes them. Since violinists of the time ornamented their pieces, she discusses the ornaments used by Mondonville, one of the most important of these French violinists. In German.

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  • Berger, Melvin. Guide to Sonatas: Music for One or Two Instruments. New York: Anchor, 1991.

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    Berger introduces the principal duo sonatas by thirty-five well-known composers. He shows where these works fit into the overall oeuvre of the composer.

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  • de La Laurencie, Lionel. L’École française de violon de Lully à Viotti: Études d’histoire et d’esthéique. 3 vols. Paris: Librairie Delagrave, 1922–1924.

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    La Laurencie deals primarily with French violin-keyboard sonatas and the violinists who performed them, from Lully in the mid-17th century to Viotti at the end of the 18th century. A history with analyses of the pieces and their reception by the audiences of the time. Well documented. In French.

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  • Dürr, Alfred. “Zu Hans Eppsteins ‘Studien über J.S. Bachs Sonaten für ein Melodieninstrument und obligates Cembalo’.” Die Musikforschung 21 (1968): 332–340.

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    Dürr, an expert on Bach, reviews Eppstein 1966 and, without disagreeing with much of Eppstein, has additional points to make, including a challenge to Eppstein’s study of Bach’s gamba sonatas, which Bach transcribed from other sources. In German.

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  • Eppstein, Hans. Studien über J. S. Bachs Sonaten für ein Melodieinstrument und obligates Cembalo. Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, Studia Musicologica Upsaliensia, Nova Series 2. Stockholm: Almqvist & Wiksells, 1966.

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    Bach’s sonatas for violin and keyboard are the first to have the keyboard and violin as equals. Eppstein considers the authenticity of these sonatas, their various versions, the interrelationship of the two instruments, the historical position of Bach’s sonatas, and the structure of each of the sonatas. See Dürr 1968. In German.

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  • Hambourg, Klement. “Three Sonatas for Violin and Piano by Paul Hindemith: A Stylistic and Interpretive Study.” DMA diss., University of Oregon, 1977.

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    These sonatas are among the best written in the first half of the 20th century. They are examples of Gebrauchsmusik (“functional music”), which means they are not complicated pieces and are in a neoclassic, tonal style. Hindemith was the violist in the Amar String Quartet and had a special interest in chamber music for strings.

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  • Loft, Abram. Violin and Keyboard: The Duo Repertoire. 2 vols. New York: Grossman, 1973.

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    Vol. 1, from the 17th century to Mozart; vol. 2, from Beethoven to the present. An annotated bibliography for building repertory and some explanation of that repertory. Loft is concerned with issues of technical performance that face the modern violinist. His discussion of works from the late 18th century to the mid-20th century covers a vast repertory, while he is highly selective of violin-piano works since 1950.

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Sonatas for Piano and Violoncello

The violoncello with piano has its own history, as evidenced in Shaw 1963. Beethoven’s violoncello and piano sonatas are not only the finest examples of the genre but are seminal for all that followed, as discussed in Lockwood 1986 and Lockwood 1998.

  • Lockwood, Lewis. “Beethoven’s Early Works for violoncello and Pianoforte: Innovation in Context.” Beethoven Newsletter 1 (1986): 17–21.

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    A history, analysis, and appreciation of the Op. 5 sonatas by Beethoven.

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  • Lockwood, Lewis. “Beethoven’s Emergence from Crisis: The Cello Sonatas of Op. 102 (1815).” Journal of Musicology 16 (1998): 301–322.

    DOI: 10.1525/jm.1998.16.3.03a00020Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Lockwood studies these last two sonatas in the context of Beethoven’s psychological crisis experienced from 1812 to 1815.

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  • Shaw, Gertrude Jean. “The Violoncello Sonata Literature in France during the Eighteenth Century.” Ph.D. diss., Catholic University of America, 1963.

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    Shaw reviews the violoncello literature of the 18th century with emphasis on the sonata and the violoncellist-composers. The pieces show the development of an independent violoncello technique and are important precursors for the later violoncello sonatas by Beethoven and others.

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Piano Trio

The piano trio for piano, violin, and violoncello is a popular chamber music genre and has found devotees among many famous composers, such as Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Schubert, Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn, Brahms, Dvořák, Beach, Chausson, Ravel, and Shostakovich, as discussed by Streletski 2005. Finscher 2001 (as cited in Strings) shows how the piano trio performed by three equal instruments derived from the sonata for keyboard with the accompaniment of violin and violoncello. For an overall history see Smallman 2000, and for a list of piano trios see Altmann 1934. Ping-Robbins 1984 lists 20th-century piano trio ensembles.

  • Altmann, Wilhelm. Handbuch für Klaviertriospieler: Wegweiser durch die Trios für Klavier, Violine und Violoncell: mit fast 400 Notenbeispielen. Wolfenbüttel, Germany: Verlag für musikalische Kultur und Wissenschaft, 1934.

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    The author gives to the performer a list of piano trios primarily from the late 19th and early 20th centuries. He describes the individual movements and, in some cases, gives his opinion on the merits of the music. In German.

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  • Finscher, Ludwig. “Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven und die ‘Erfindung’ des Klaviertrios.” In Rezeption als Innovation: Untersuchungen zu einem Grundmodell der europäischen Kompositionsgeschichte: Festschrift für Friedhelm Krummacher zum 65. Geburtstag. Edited by Bernd Sponheuer, Siegfried Oechsle, and Helmut Well, 135–148. Kieler Schriften zur Musikwissenschaft 46. Kassel, Germany: Bärenreiter, 2001.

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    Finscher shows how the piano trio performed by three equal instruments derived from the sonata for keyboard with the accompaniment of violin and violoncello. He concentrates on the works of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven to demonstrate this evolution. The author not only discusses the works themselves but also the social milieu that influenced this evolution. In German.

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  • Ping-Robbins, Nancy R. The Piano Trio in the Twentieth Century: A Partially Annotated Bibliography with Introduction and Appended Lists of Commissioned Works and Performing Trios. Raleigh, NC: Regan, 1984.

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    The author presents lists of piano trios written in the 20th century, many by obscure composers, and although presenting a comprehensive list of performing ensembles, she tells us very little about each ensemble. Ping-Robbins also discusses the problem of the piano mixing with the violin and violoncello.

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  • Smallman, Basil. The Piano Trio: Its History, Technique and Repertoire. 2d ed. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2000.

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    The definitive history of the piano trio for both scholar and layperson. Beginning with Mozart’s trios of 1784, Smallman shows how they derived from earlier genres (Baroque forms, classical string quartet, piano concerto, and duet sonata), and continues until the 1980s. Discusses the problem of blending the percussive piano with bowed strings. Originally published by Oxford University Press in 1989 and issued in paperback in 1992.

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  • Streletski, Gérard, ed. Le Trio avec piano: Histoire, langages, et perspectives. Actes du colloque qui s’est déroulé les 8 et 9 avril 2004, sale Witkowski à Lyon. Lyon: Symétrie, 2005.

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    Streletski here edits an informative series of papers on the history of the piano trio, the practicality of modern performances, and on specific piano trios of Rameau, Schubert, Louise Farrenc, and Ernest Chausson.

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Piano Quartets and Quintets

Pieces for piano with three or four bowed string instruments were not as popular in the 19th century as was the piano trio. Michaels 1998 gives a brief overview of piano quartets and quintets. Saam 1932 has written the best history of the piano quartet, though he concentrates on its history in the early 19th century. Altmann 1937 and Altmann 1936 give lists of both the piano quartet and the piano quintet in the Romantic period, and Smallman 1994 lists both genres from the mid-18th century to the end of the 20th century.

  • Altmann, Wilhelm. Handbuch für Klavierquartettspieler: Wegweiser durch die Klavierquartette. Wolfenbüttel, Germany: Verlag für musikalische Kultur und Wissenschaft, 1937.

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    The basic list of quartets for keyboard and strings during the late 18th to the early 20th centuries and including, through Altmann’s own incorrect definition of the Baroque trio sonata, also examples of that genre. The author also includes some winds. In German.

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  • Altmann, Wilhelm. Handbuch für Klavierquintettspieler: Wegweiser durch die Klavierquintett. Wolfenbüttel, Germany: Verlag für musikalische Kultur und Wissenschaft, 1936.

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    This is not merely a list but rather a discussion of each of the major works from Mozart to Miklos Rosza. It emphasizes composers of the late 19th century to early 20th century, from various countries, and includes works by some composers virtually unknown today. Designed for both amateur and professional readers. In German.

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  • Michaels, Jost. “Die ungewöhnliche Entwicklungsgeschichte des Klavierquartetts.” Das Orchester 46 (1998): 10–15.

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    Michaels summarizes the histories of the piano trio, piano quartet, and piano quintet in terms of the relationship of the piano to the strings. In German, for the performer.

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  • Saam, Joseph. Zur Geschichte des Klavierquartetts bis in die Romantik. Sammlung musikwissenschaftler Abhandlungen 9. Strassburg: Heitz, 1932.

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    A classic history of the piano quartet and its relationship to such forebears as the Baroque trio sonata. Saam analyzes many piano quartets from Mozart’s to those by Beethoven’s immediate successors.

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  • Smallman, Basil. The Piano Quartet and Quintet: Style, Structure, and Scoring. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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    Smallman discusses the relationship of the piano to strings in specific piano quintets from Schobert to Schnittke (1733–1990).

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Famous Examples

Among the most famous piano quartets are the two by Mozart, and those by Brahms, Dvořák, and Fauré. The one by Brahms has elicited an exacting analysis by Carpenter 2005, and Smith 2005 has shown how the quartet relates to literature and other music of the 19th century. The piano quintets by Schubert, Schumann, Brahms, Dvořák, Franck, Shostakovich, and Schnittke are the most frequently performed. La Face Bianconi 2005 shows how Schubert developed his quintet from his Lied Die Forelle, while Dunhill 1931 and Garcia 1992 consider how Brahms evolved his quintet from earlier compositions. Smaczny 1993 analyzes the Dvořák, while Maróthy 1977 places the Shostakovich within the political framework of the Soviet Union. The more recent quintet by Schnittke is studied by Liao 2007.

  • Carpenter, Patricia. “Schoenberg’s Tonal Body.” Theory and Practice 30 (2005): 35–68.

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    Following closely Arnold Schoenberg’s stated belief that the artistic worth of a composition is what the composition is and not how it is put together, Carpenter studies Schoenberg’s tonal analysis of the first movement of the Brahms’s piano quartet in C minor, Op. 60. Carpenter writes for the experienced theorist.

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  • Dunhill, Thomas F. “Brahms’ Quintet for Pianoforte and Strings.” Musical Times 72 (1931): 319–322.

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    Dunhill traces the evolution of Brahms’s quintet for piano and string quartet from a string quintet through a two-piano work to its present scoring. See also Garcia 1992.

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  • Garcia, Ana Lucia Altiño. “Brahms’s Opus 34 and the 19th-century Piano Quintet.” DMA diss., Boston University, 1992.

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    Following on Dunhill 1931, Garcia reconstructs the lost string quintet by Brahms that was the original version of the piano quintet and shows the influence of Schubert’s C major String Quintet. Along the way she studies the quintets by Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, Robert Schumann, Max Reger, Dvořák, and Franck.

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  • La Face Bianconi, Giuseppina. “La trota fra conato e suoni: Un percorso didattico.” Rivista Semestrale di Musicologia 12 (2005): 77–123.

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    The author analyzes the Schubert song Die Forelle (The Trout) and shows how the composer varied it in the fourth movement of his Trout Quintet. She also demonstrates how the poem of the song influences the variations, in an interesting but speculative treatise. In Italian.

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  • Liao, Amber Yiu-Hsuan. “A Historical and Analytical Study of Selected Piano Quintets after 1950.” DMA diss., Manhattan School of Music, 2007.

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    By describing piano quintets by three influential 20th-century composers (Ginastera, Schnittke, and Morton Feldman), Liao shows how some of the new, 20th-century methods have led the piano quintet in entirely new directions.

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  • Maróthy, János. “Harmonic Disharmony: Shostakovich’s Quintet.” Studia Musicologica 19 (1977): 325–348.

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    Maróthy considers the early, popular Shostakovich piano quintet (1940) in context of the Socialist Realist terms popular in the Soviet Union in the middle of the 20th century. He finds in it an antithesis between Romantic subjectivity and trivial objectivity.

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  • Smaczny, Jan. “The E-flat Major String Quintet, Opus 97.” In Dvořák in America: 1892–1895. Edited by John C. Tibbetts, 238–242. Portland, OR: Amadeus, 1993.

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    A brief but cogent and readable analysis of the Dvořák quintet.

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  • Smith, Peter H. Expressive Forms in Brahms’s Instrumental Music: Structure and Meaning in His ‘Werther’ Quartet. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005.

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    Smith seeks the connection between Brahms’s Op. 60 piano quartet in C minor and Goethe’s Werther. Others have considered Brahms’s relationship with the Schumann, but, through an analysis based on Schenker and Schoenberg, Smith draws parallels between purely musical aspects of the quartet and the intensity of the Werther story. For the professional theorist.

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Woodwinds

In the 17th and 18th centuries, ensembles of woodwind music often played background music for dinners and other social occasions in the homes of noble persons. Such table music or diversions were sometimes written by distinguished composers, and in being revived in modern times, they are performed now in chamber music situations. By the late 18th century, Mozart was writing serious woodwind ensembles as chamber music, and this continued sporadically during the 19th century. Since the early 20th century, woodwinds have flourished in all sorts of chamber combinations. Woodwind players (basically flutists, oboists, clarinetists, bassoonists and saxophonists) often join together in chamber ensembles, from two to thirteen at a time. Horne 1990, as just one source, gives a few examples of the variety of combinations for woodwinds.

Chamber Music for Woodwinds Alone

As in the case of chamber music for strings alone, there are many varieties possible for winds alone, but the most commonly met ensembles are the woodwind quintets. These are usually of a high standard and are intended for professional ensembles. A great amount of other woodwind chamber music is didactic or written for school ensembles where the band director is searching for suitable repertory, and thus the literature on this kind of music is focused in that direction.

Duets and Trios

Jones 1970 discusses the history of the flute duet and provides a large inventory. Randall 1970 does the same for the clarinet duet, and Haynes 1992 and Weiner 1980 for the oboe duet. Trios for oboe, clarinet and bassoon were in vogue during the first half of the 20th century, as shown by Gillespie 1971.

  • Gillespie, James E., Jr. The Reed Trio: An Annotated Bibliography of Original Published Works. Detroit Studies in Music Bibliography 20. Detroit: Information Coordinators, 1971.

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    A bibliography of works for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon published from 1897 to 1968, a brief history of the reed trio, and a list of some important performing groups.

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  • Haynes, Bruce. Music for Oboe, 1650–1800: A Bibliography. 2d rev. ed. Berkeley: Fallen Leaf, 1992.

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    This is a greatly expanded version of Haynes’s previous catalogs of oboe music, originally published in The Hague (4th ed., 1980) and under the title given here (1st ed., 1986). A large part of this list of repertory is chamber music including the oboe.

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  • Jones, Walter James. “The Unaccompanied Duet for Transverse Flutes by French Composers, ca.1708–70.” Ph.D. diss., University of Iowa, 1970.

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    A discussion of about 450 duets in terms of ornamentation and rhythm. Jones notes how the style of the duet changed from a Rococo to a Classical one.

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  • Randall, David Max. “The Clarinet Duet from ca.1715 to ca.1825.” DMA diss., University of Iowa, 1970.

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    A useful history and inventory of the clarinet duet. Primarily for clarinetists. See Weiner 1980.

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  • Weiner, Lowell Barry. “The Unaccompanied Clarinet Duet Repertoire from 1825 to the Present: an Annotated Catalogue.” Ph.D. diss., New York University, 1980.

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    A continuation of Randall 1970.

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Quartets and Quintets

Perhaps the most frequently encountered woodwind ensemble is the woodwind quintet (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and French horn), which Hedlund 1959 shows is first met in the 18th century, which enjoyed a momentary spurt in the 19th century—especially in the works of Anton Reicha, as described by Laing 1952—and which has been a popular medium since 1924, as inventoried by Hosek 1979 and Peters 1971. Wise 1967 analyzes some important neoclassic woodwind quintets of the 20th century, while Corson 1984 concentrates on Schoenberg’s seminal dodecaphonic work of this type. The French horn, while technically a brass wind instrument, is common in woodwind chamber music and is included here when combined with woodwinds and not with other brass. Oberlag 1974 shows that the woodwind quartet (flute, oboe, clarinet, and bassoon) is also occasionally encountered.

Sextets and Octets

Leoš Janáček’s wind sextet is arguably the best of its kind, as discussed in Chausese 2004. Among octets (two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, and two horns), Op. 103 by Beethoven is noteworthy, and Orle 1920 discusses its evolution into a quintet. Some other combinations of woodwinds and French horn are termed Harmoniemusik which were especially popular at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th; there are famous examples, given by Hellyer 1990, by Mozart and Beethoven.

  • Chausse, Elizabeth Suzanne. “Leoš Janáček’s Wind Sextet, ‘Mládí’: a History of an Interpretative Source and Suggestions for Performance.” DMA diss., Ohio State University, 2004.

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    Chausse corrects the 1990 score of Janáček’s Suite (for flute [piccolo], oboe, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, and French horn) by reverting to the composer’s 1924 score that the composer himself corrected.

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  • Hellyer, Roger. “Harmoniemusik and Other Works for Multiple Wind Instruments.” In The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart’s Life and Music. Edited by H. C. Robbins Landon, 283–287. London: Thames & Hudson, 1990.

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    Mozart wrote two early divertimenti in 1773 that are Harmoniemusik, but he wrote the two masterpieces of the genre in 1782: Serenade K. 375 and Serenade K. 388, each for two oboes, two clarinets, two bassoons, and two French horns. Hellyer briefly discusses these and other similar works by Mozart and provides a chronological, annotated list.

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  • Orle, Alfred. “Beethovens Oktett Op. 103 und seine Bearbeitung als Quintett Op. 4.” Zeitschrift für Musikwissenschaft 3 (1920–1921): 159–179.

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    In comparing the two chamber pieces, Orle thoroughly analyzes both works and places both in historical context.

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Chamber Music for Woodwinds and Keyboard

Just as chamber music for piano and strings poses problems of balance, so does the association of piano with woodwinds. Yet there are many such pieces in all sorts of combinations. The duet for one woodwind and piano is common; recorder sonatas are discussed by Rowland-Jones 1991, Michaels 2002 considers clarinet sonatas by Brahms, 20th-century English clarinet works are analyzed by Alexander 1982, and Sibbing 1969 deals with performance issues of mid-20th-century saxophone works. There are many trios for flute, clarinet and piano listed by Harriss 1981, and Peersen 2005 considers a specific quartet for piano and winds by Berwald. Ohlsson 1980 is concerned with quintets for piano, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and horn by Mozart and Beethoven, and Otaki 1992 studies the two versions of Beethoven’s quintet.

  • Alexander, Peter. “A Structural and Stylistic Study and Performance of Selected Twentieth-Century English Works for Clarinet and Piano.” EdD diss., Columbia University, 1982.

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    Alexander analyzes four pieces by Ireland, Alwyn, Rawsthorne, and Bax in order to help clarinetists perform them.

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  • Harriss, Elaine Atkins. “Chamber Music for the Trio of Flute, Clarinet, and Piano: A Bibliographical and Analytical Study.” Ph.D. diss., University of Michigan, 1981.

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    Harriss gives an annotated list of 108 trios that includes some historical background as well as discussions of form, style, and other technical aspects.

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  • Michaels, Jost. Die Bedeutung der Klarinette in der Kammermusik von Johannes Brahms. Frechen, Germany: Müller & Gössl, 2002.

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    From the standpoint of a performer, Michaels studies the Brahms sonatas Op. 120, his trio for piano, clarinet and violoncello Op. 114, and his clarinet quintet Op. 115. He compares these to works by other well-known composers.

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  • Ohlsson, Eric Paul. “The Quintets for Piano, Oboe, Clarinet, Horn and Bassoon by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven.” DMA diss., Ohio State University, 1980.

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    Ohlsson compares Mozart’s K. 452 and Beethoven’s Op. 16 quintets.

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  • Otaki, Michiko. “A Comparative Performance Study of the Wind and String Versions of Beethoven’s Opus 16.” DMA diss., University of Miami, 1991.

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    Beethoven rescored his early quintet for piano and winds for piano and strings. Otaki compares the two versions and finds that the piano received the most revisions in adjusting to the new tone color.

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  • Peersen, Hild Breien. “Franz Berwald’s Quartet for Piano and Winds: Its Historical, Stylistic, and Social Context.” DMA diss., Ohio State University, 2005.

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    Peersen, a clarinetist, gives a simple history and analysis of Berwald’s quintet and places it in the context of the arts in Sweden in the early 19th century.

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  • Rowland-Jones, Anthony. Playing Recorder Sonatas: Interpretation and Technique. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992.

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    The author discusses, very well, performance practices for recorder sonatas from the 17th to the 20th centuries. Initially the sonatas were performed with continuo, and they are so today with the revival of Baroque instrumentation. The discussion is thorough and well documented.

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  • Sibbing, Robert Virgil. “An Analytical Study of the Published Sonatas for Saxophone by American Composers.” EdD diss., University of Illinois, 1969.

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    Sibbing considers performance issues in some sonatas for saxophone and piano by mid-20th-century composers.

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Brass

During the late 16th century and throughout the 17th century, brass ensemble music, in particular the works of Frescobaldi, was sometimes considered chamber music. Bartholomew 1965 deals with a large collection of 17th-century canzonas probably scored for brass. But more often, brass ensembles performed in church or, as Bolen 1954 reveals, outdoors. When this latter music has been revived in the 20th and 21st centuries, it has been treated rather as chamber music: performed in intimate settings. Among the most famous composers of such brass chamber music is Giovanni Gabrieli; Bayes 1977 considers improvisation in some of Gabrieli’s sonatas and canzonas. Newly composed brass chamber music has become popular, especially in America since 1900, and Swift 1969 surveys the topic. Baer 1970 studies trios for brass instruments, Tucker 1979 looks at trombone quartets, and Hofacre 1986 ponders the use of tenor trombones in quintet. The brass sextet apparently, according to Richards 1947, started in 1929 as an American phenomenon.

  • Baer, Douglas Milton. “The Brass Trio: A Comparative Analysis of Works Published from 1924 to 1970.” Ph.D. diss., Florida State University, 1970.

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    Valuable for its list of more than fifty brass trios from the middle of the 20th century.

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  • Bartholomew, Leland Earl. Alessandro Rauerij’s Collection of Canzoni per Sonare (Venice, 1608). Fort Hays: Fort Hays Kansas State College, 1965.

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    This is an edition of thirty-six canzonas by representative Italian composers of the time, most probably scored for brass instruments. Bartholomew is concerned with editorial issues as well as the chamber situations where these pieces may have been performed.

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  • Bayes, Jack Russell. “The Proposed Use of Improvised Embellishment in the Instrumental Ensemble Music of Giovanni Gabrieli: The Canzone and Sonate from the Sacrae Symphoniae of 1597.” DMA diss., University of Washington, 1977.

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    Useful for interpreters of Gabrieli’s music, this dissertation suggests ornaments based on those given in musical treatises contemporaneous with the composer.

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  • Bolen, Charles Warren. “Open-Air Music of the Baroque: a Study of Selected Examples of Wind Music.” Ph.D. diss., Indiana University, 1954.

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    While Bolen shows that much wind music of the 17th century was originally performed outdoors (equestrian ballets and tower music), he recognizes that modern performances would be in chamber situations.

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  • Hofacre, Marta Jean. “The Use of Tenor Trombone in Twentieth-Century Brass Quintet Music: A Brief Historical Overview with Comprehensive Listing of Original, Published Twentieth-Century Quintets and a Discussion of Tenor Trombone Excerpts from Selected Compositions.” DMA diss., University of Oklahoma, 1986.

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    Hofacre is interested in 20th-century brass quintets and how composers utilize the trombone.

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  • Richards, John K. “The Brass Sextet: a Study of its Instruments, History, Literature and Position in Instrumental Music Education.” MM thesis, University of Southern California, 1947.

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    Richards studies the uniquely American brass sextet and presents an inventory of such pieces from 1929 to 1947.

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  • Swift, Arthur Goodlow. “Twentieth-Century Brass Ensemble Music: A Survey with Analyses of Representative Compositions.” Ph.D. diss., University of Iowa, 1969.

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    Swift points to the striking upsurge in interest in brass ensemble music during the 20th century in various countries and how that has affected music education. He is particularly concerned with a few examples by Victor Ewald, Ingolf Dahl, Eino Rautavaara, and Gunther Schuller.

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  • Tucker, Wallace E. “The Trombone Quartet: Its Appearance and Development throughout History.” Journal of the International Trombone Association 7 (1979): 2–7; 8 (1980): 2–5.

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    Tucker gives a simple history and lists compositions for trombone quartet with or without other instruments, from the 16th century to the 20th.

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Mixed Scoring

Instruments from different families often are joined in chamber ensembles. See Kurtz 1971 and Wahl 1977 for repertories of brass and woodwind combinations and Funk 1995 for combinations of winds and strings with piano. The history of such chamber music falls into two basic epochs: before Beethoven, when the location of the performance was more important than the scoring, and from Beethoven on, when the scoring was more important than the location of the performance.

Baroque to 1800

In England in the 17th century, mixed ensembles were termed “broken consorts” (any instrument of one family in combination with any instrument of another family). This happened even when the different families were all chordophones or all aerophones, but it was especially true when chordophones and aerophones joined together (where one or some string instruments joined one or some wind instruments). This kind of chamber music in the 17th century also existed in the rest of Europe and continued in the following centuries. By the late 18th century, there were not only chamber performances of pieces intentionally written as chamber music but also, as Funk 1995 points out, of pieces arranged from symphonic music for chamber performances. Mozart wrote numerous pieces for mixtures; Adams 1994 talks in general about quartets and quintets blending winds and strings, Hellyer 1990 gives a chronology of such pieces, and Geidel 1989 analyzes Mozart’s trio for piano, clarinet, and viola.

  • Adams, Sarah Jane. “Quartets and Quintets for Mixed Groups of Winds and Strings: Mozart and his Contemporaries in Vienna, c.1780–c.1800.” Ph.D. diss., Cornell University, 1994.

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    Adams studies the history, forms, and styles of Mozart’s chamber music for the combination of winds and strings. She provides a good list of the repertory not only by Mozart but also by his contemporaries.

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  • Funk, Vera. Klavierkammermusik mit Bläsern und Streichern in der 2. Hälfte des 18. Jahrhunderts. Detmold-Paderborner Beiträge zur Musikwissenschaft 5. Kassel and New York: Bärenreiter, 1995.

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    Funk studies, in depth, original and arranged chamber works for both winds and strings with piano composed in the second half of the 18th century. The quartets for flute, violin, violoncello and piano are especially prevalent. She also shows that chamber arrangements of symphonic music were commonplace. In German.

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  • Geidel, Stanley M. “Mozart’s Trio in E-Flat, K. 498, for Piano, Clarinet and Viola: An Analytical Examination of Melodic Relationships, a Comparative Study of Current Editions, and an Investigation of Contemporary Performance Practices.” DA diss., Ball State University, 1989.

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    From the standpoint of a performer, Geidel studies the various editions and original manuscript of this Mozart work.

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  • Hellyer, Roger. “Wind Instruments with Strings and Piano.” In The Mozart Compendium: A Guide to Mozart’s Life and Music. Edited by H. C. Robbins Landon, 287–289. London: Thames & Hudson, 1990.

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    After a very brief discussion, Hellyer gives a chronological, annotated list of Mozart’s chamber works for mixed scoring, including the four flute quartets, the oboe quartet, the clarinet quintet, and a few other works.

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  • Kurtz, Saul James. “A Study and Catalog of Ensemble Music for Woodwinds Alone or with Brass from ca.1700 to ca.1825.” Ph.D. diss., University of Iowa, 1971.

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    Kurtz concentrates on the chamber music for woodwinds separately and for woodwinds in combination with brass. This is both a list of pieces and a history of them.

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  • Wahl, Ralph Victor. “Mixed-Wind Chamber Music in American Universities.” AMD diss., University of Arizona, 1977.

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    A huge inventory of mixed wind chamber music and a discussion of such works appropriate for university performing groups. Wahl also describes several specific performing groups.

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Beethoven to the Present

Among Beethoven’s chamber works for mixed scoring is his septet that apparently, as Brent-Smith 1927 proposes, influenced Schubert in his frequently performed octet (for two violins, viola, violoncello, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, and horn). Brahms’s oft-heard trio for horn, violin and piano presents a dilemma for the horn player: Should it be performed on a natural horn, as Dorschel 2005 suggests, or a valve horn, as Jost 2001 suggests? Hoff 1976, in his dissertation, points out the unusual quartets for bassoon, violin, viola, and violoncello by Franz Danzi, Carl Stamitz, J. C. Vogel, Devienne, and Franz Krommer. Perhaps the most frequently played nonet is that by Louis Spohr, which combines a string quartet with a woodwind quintet; Peters 1987, in the course of his study of Spohr, discusses this nonet. West 1975 notes a large outpouring of chamber works for mixed scoring in the 20th century; prominent 20th-century examples are Debussy’s sonata for flute, viola, and harp, as analyzed by Allen 1983, and Olivier Messiaen’s Quatuor pour le fin du temps (Quartet for the End of Time) for clarinet, violin, violoncello, and piano, which Rischin 2006 studies in detail.

  • Allen, Judith Shatin. “Tonal Allusion and Illusion: Debussy’s Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp.” Cahiers Debussy, Nouvelle Sèrie 7 (1983): 38–48.

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    A serious analysis of Debussy’s sense of tonality as seen in this three-movement sonata.

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  • Brent-Smith, Alexander. “Schubert: Quartet in D Minor and Octet.” In The Musical Pilgrim. By Alexander Brent-Smith. London: Oxford University Press, 1927.

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    In a not entirely rigorous essay, the author describes the basic elements of Schubert’s quartet and octet and compares the latter to Beethoven’s Septet Opus 20.

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  • Dorschel, Andreas. “Was heißt konservativ in der Kunst? Das Horn im 19. Jahrhundert und das Es-Dur-Trio op. 40 von Johannes Brahms: eine ästhetische Fallstudie.” In Brahms-Studien.Edited by Alexander Odefey, 55–66. Veröffentlichungen der Johannes Brahms Gesellschaft 14. Tutzing: Hans Schneider, 2005.

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    Dorschel believes that Brahms wrote his horn trio for natural horn, not the modern valve horn. See an opposing view in Jost 2001. Dorschel points out how the choice of horn affects the overall sound quality of the piece; the natural horn is part of the 19th-century feeling for folk art, as evinced in Arno and Bretano’s Des Knaben Wunderhorn.

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  • Hoff, Helen Arlene. “The Bassoon in Eight Quartets for Bassoon, Violin, Viola, and Cello Written c.1800.” DMA diss., University of Oregon, 1976.

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    Hoff compares eight unusual quartets for bassoon and strings by Danzi, Carl Stamitz, J. C. Vogel, Devienne, and Franz Krommer.

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  • Jost, Peter. “Klang, Harmonie und Form in Brahms’ Horntrio op. 40.” In Internationaler Brahms-Kongress Gmunden 1997: Kongressbericht. Veröffentlichungen des Archivs der Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in Wien, I. Edited by Ingrid Fuchs, 59–71. Tutzing, Germany: Hans Schneider, 2001.

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    Jost believes that Brahms composed his horn trio for modern valve horn and thereby is in direct opposition to Dorschel 2005’s later contention that Brahms wrote for the natural horn.

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  • Peters, Helmut. Der Komponist, Geiger, Dirigent und Pädagoge Louis Spohr (1784–1859) mit einer Auswahlbibliographie zu Leben und Schaffen. Braunschweig: Stadtbibliothek Braunschweig, 1987.

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    Spohr merits the attention of any student interested in the history of chamber music, in how and where it was performed, and in an increased repertory. Peters’s biography and discussion of Spohr’s compositions includes a discussion of the Nonet on pp. 35–42.

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  • Rischin, Rebecca. For the End of Time: The Story of the Messiaen Quartet. Rev. ed. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2006.

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    Rischin tells how Messiaen’s quartet (1941) came to be written and first performed in a Nazi internment camp, who the musicians were, and how well the piece has been received ever since. She interviews survivors, including two of the original musicians. The book first appeared in 2003.

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  • West, Charles Wayne. “Music for Woodwinds and Strings, Five to Thirteen Players, Composed between ca.1900 and ca.1973: A Catalogue of Compositions and Analyses of Selected Works by Composers Active in the United States after 1945.” DMA diss., University of Iowa, 1975.

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    A catalog and cursory history of chamber pieces for larger mixed ensembles composed in the United States during most of the 20th century.

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Clarinet and String Quartet

A special category of mixed scoring is the clarinet quintet. This particular scoring, though not common, has resulted in some of the finest works in the chamber repertory. Rau 1977 shows the prominence of this setting at the end of the 18th century and beginning of the 19th. Mozart’s quintet for clarinet and string quartet, a masterpiece of chamber music, led to many others, but the best quintet for clarinet and string quartet to rival Mozart’s is Brahms’s; Lawson 1998 discusses these two pieces, along with other such quintets by other composers.

  • Lawson, Colin James. Brahms: Clarinet Quintet. Cambridge, UK and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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    While his focus is on the Brahms clarinet quintet, Lawson gives a good history from Mozart’s quintet to similar works of the late 19th century by Reger, Robert Fuchs, and others. This is a wide-ranging book that covers other pieces with clarinet by Brahms, how to interpret the quintet, and information on the London premiere of the piece.

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  • Rau, Ulrich. “Die Kammermusik für Klarinette und Streichinstrumente im Zeitalter der Wiener Klassik.” Ph.D. diss., Saarbrücken Universität, 1977.

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    Rau studies the quintets for clarinet and strings written in Mannheim, Paris, and Vienna from 1770 to 1830. He is concerned primarily with history, style, and the idiosyncrasies of the clarinet. The dissertation, from 1975, was printed in 1977. See Lawson 1998 for the subsequent history of the clarinet quintet.

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LAST MODIFIED: 06/29/2011

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199757824-0011

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