The Calder Quartet is a very special group to me. First of all they’re an absolutely awesome quartet, one of the hottest in the country right now. But they’re also good friends and three of the four of them are my former students at USC. I’m incredibly proud of them. We’ve played together individually and as a quartet before and I love making music with them.
On the first of the Calder Quartet’s two concerts at the Port Townsend Chamber Music Festival, we will be playing two of the greatest works of chamber music ever written – the Schumann Piano Quintet and the Mozart G minor Piano Quartet.
The Schumann Quintet was written in 1842 during his so-called ‘year of chamber music’. (Schumann liked to work in genres – 1839 was devoted almost exclusively to solo piano music and 1840 was the great ‘year of song’ when he wrote no less than 150 songs.)
The Quintet is one of the most joyous pieces of music ever written. Composed in the early years of his marriage to Clara, the ebullient nature of this work is, in my mind, reflective of his ecstatic happiness and triumph at finally being able to marry Clara after a long struggle with her father, who vehemently opposed the marriage.