• Lennox Berkeley
  • Quintet (1975)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, New York

  • ob.cl.hn.bsnpf
  • 24 min

Programme Note

The Quintet is scored for oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon and piano. Its four movements are in a modified traditional form.

The first movement makes us of a slow-fast-slow form, the central ‘Allegro’ being the longest section. It leads finally to a restatement of the opening ‘Andante’, though in it nothing is exactly repeated, the thematic material being presented, as it were, in the light of what has happened in the central section.

The second movement is a fairly extended ‘Scherzo’ and Trio of easily recognisable shape. The ‘Intermezzo’ that follows is in free form in which there are occasional references to thematic features of the first movement.

The last movement is a theme and variations; the first variation is dominated by a restless 5/8 rhythm – this and the next two variations are fast-moving, with allusions to the theme, rather than having any closer relation to it. In variation four, an entirely new melody appears over the original accompaniment of the theme. This is taken up by each of the wind instruments in turn. This is taken up by each of the wind instruments in turn. The fifth consists of a running accompaniment in the piano in which the bassoon and the horn play a version of the theme followed by a variant, this time in shorter note-values, in the oboe and clarinet. The first part of the theme is then heard in its original form, and the piece ends with a quick coda.

The work was commissioned by the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and written during the winter of 1975.

Discography