Klughardt – Quintet in C, Op. 79

by Max Derrickson

August Friedrich Klughardt
(Born in Köthen, Germany in 1847; died in Rosslau, Germany in 1902)

Wind Quintet in C-Major, Op. 79
1. Allegro non troppo
2. Allegro vivace
3. Andante grazioso
4. Adagio – Allegro molto vivace

Despite the riches that Cambini, Reicha and Danzi contributed to the repertoire of the wind quintet in the early 19th Century, the string quartet in the tradition of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven still held considerable cache with composers.  But at the turning of the 20th Century, two important musical forces were underway.  First was the war that raged over the future of music with each of two philosophies collecting their acolytes – the New German School of music (the tone poems of Liszt and the operas of Wagner) vying with the Conservative composers (the symphonies and chamber works of Brahms and Schumann).  The second transformation was at once mechanical and musical: technological advancements to wind instruments were making them more agile and with wider ranges, and easier to play, which was transforming the music they played in their wake.

Into this mix came the German composer and conductor August Klughardt who, in his youth, adored Liszt.  But late in his life, and indeed, shortly before his early death, he began to deeply appreciate the Conservative path.  The result was something magical [. . .].

One of the most noticeable hallmarks about Klughardt’s Quintet is how rich and expansive the ensemble sounds.  Perhaps as no other composer, Klughardt understood the possibilities of this particular set of instruments and how “orchestral” they could sound.  But no less expansive              [. . .] The second movement, though, is simple and bucolic, reminiscent of those lovely middle movements by Mendelssohn and Mozart.  The third movement is a magical mix of both Schools, where instrument pairings and inventive timbres [. . .]   The finale tips yet another hat to the Praeludiums of the early Baroque with a [. . .]  breathtaking to the end.