String Quartet in D Major (“The Lark”), Op. 64, no. 5
Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet, Jeewon Park, piano
Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op. 44
David Fung, piano, Tessa Lark, violin, Axel Strauss, violin, Dimitri Murrath, viola, Edward Arron, cello
HAYDN DEDICATED HIS SET of six Opus 64 quartets (1790) to his friend and colleague Johann Tost, first violinist of the Esterházy’s resident orchestra. The “Lark” Quartet, the fifth of this set, was written during a month of rapidly changing life circumstances for Haydn. His employer, Nikolaus Esterházy, had recently died, and Haydn found himself free to pursue his own musical career after thirty years of service. At the urging of the impresario Johann Peter Salomon, he quickly arranged a trip to London, where he knew he had ardent musical supporters—some so zealous that a plot once existed to kidnap Haydn from his unappreciative employer and transport him to England.
LOWELL LIEBERMANN’S Sonata for Clarinet in A and Piano was premiered on October 17, 2021 at a concert of the Boston Chamber Music Society by Romie de Guise-Langlois, clarinet, and Max Levinson, piano. Mr. Liebermann writes about the work: “I have wanted for a long time to compose an extended work for clarinet and piano, so when Romie de Guise-Langlois—an artist I have long admired—asked me for one, I was thrilled to oblige. I am grateful to the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the Boston Chamber Music Society, and Apex Concerts for making this commission a reality.”
EARLY IN HIS CAREER, Schumann often crafted groups of works in specific genres during intense binges of writing. In 1840, the year of his marriage to Clara Wieck against the vehement protests of her father, he created over 100 songs. The following year was devoted to symphonies. In 1842, guided by an inner voice that advised him to write chamber works, he created his three string quartets and his Opus 44 Piano Quintet. Written in the fervent heat of inspiration, the creation of these works exhausted Schumann. Shortly after their completion, he suffered the first of his mental breakdowns. Clara attributed his collapse to overwork and arranged for a stay at a Bohemian spa. However, he remained in fragile mental health for the duration of his brief life.