Louise Farrenc Piano Quintets Beguile and Delight

In her day (the mid 1800’s) Louise Farrenc was renowned as a piano virtuoso, teacher, and a composer. Today, she’s most likely to be performed in programs showcasing obscure women composers.

And that’s a shame. As this recording of her two piano quintets demonstrates, Farrenc’s music has plenty to recommend it regardless of gender. Farrenc’s talent as a pianist was well-documented, and the piano part of these quintets reflects her facility at the keyboard. The piano weaves complicated textures throughout the swirl of strings, while contributing some brilliant solo passages.

Farrenc’s style is similar to that of Mendelssohn, with attractive and tuneful melodies that just seem to flow one to another. The structure of the quartets is formal, but the music doesn’t sound like its in a straightjacket. Her rich harmonies and third-relations keep her music moving in delightfully unexpected directions.

The Quintetto Bottesini performs these works with sensitivity and enthusiasm. Lousie Farrenc’s name may not have the recognition it did in the 1840’s, but recordings such as this may help remedy that situation.

Louise Farrenc: Piano quintet No. 1in A minor, Op. 30; Piano Quintet No. 2 in E major, Op. 31
Quintetto Bottesini
Brilliant Classics 94815

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