Quintessential Quintets


Carl Maria von Weber
QUINTET in B-Flat Major for Clarinet and String Quartet, Op. 34

George Gershwin
LULLABY for String Quartet (1919)

Antonín Dvořák
QUINTET No. 2 in A Major for String Quartet and Piano, Op. 81


May 13, 2018 7:00 PM
First Baptist Church of Geneva
2300 South St., Geneva IL
May 23, 2018 7:30 PM
PianoForte Studios
1335 South Michigan Ave., Chicago IL
May 27, 2018 7:30 PM
Music Institute of Chicago Nichols Hall
1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston IL


Stefan Hersh, violin

Program Notes

Carl Maria von Weber’s Quintet in B-flat Major for clarinet and string quartet, Op. 34 shows the clarinet in a variety of expressive moods, ranging from lyrical beauty to concerto virtuosity and operatic drama. Composed for the famed clarinetist Heinrich Baermann, this work captures the emotionalism of the early 19th century while celebrating late 18th century elegance.

The program also features George Gershwin’s highly expressive and blues-oriented Lullaby for string quartet. Studying harmony, orchestration and piano with the prominent concert artist Edward Kilenyi, Gershwin composed a short work for piano as a project under his teacher’s guidance. In 1919, Gershwin arranged the piece for string quartet, revealing the youthful composer, absorbed in blues, lyrical melodies and classical influences, which would ultimately bring about his better known works.  

Antonín Dvořák initially composed what became his Piano Quintet in A Major, Op. 81 as his Piano Quintet Op. 5. But the composer remained dissatisfied with the piece and destroyed the original manuscript. In 1887, Dvořák obtained a copy of this work from one of his associates and decided to revise the music. As the work progressed, this revised music turned into an entirely new piece featuring expressive emotionalism and dynamic folk elements.