Schumann’s Piano Quintet, composed in the autumn of 1842, was one of the earliest examples of the combination of piano with a string quartet – Boccherini, Dussek and Hummel had each produced one, and Schubert used the double bass in his ‘Trout’ Quintet. It instantly became one of Schumann’s most popular works. It was composed at a time of almost feverish industry – he composed his three string quartets Op.41, the Piano Quartet and a set of Fantasy Pieces for piano trio, all in 1842. The piano quintet is a captivating, almost spontaneous work, and is a brilliant example of Schumann’s inspiration from start to finish.
Dvorák’s Op.81 Piano Quintet stems from his attempt to revise an earlier piano quintet in A major from 1872. Dissatisfied with this work, he set upon composing a new one: the result composed in September 1887 is one of his most lovable works. A relentlessly sunny work, sometimes sentimental, always masterful.