Huber, Hans


Huber, Hans

Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 111 (score and parts)


Hans Huber

Piano Quintet in G minor Op. 111

(b. Eppenburg near Solothurn, 28 June 1852 — d. Locarno, 25 December 1921)


Although he has become an unfamiliar figure beyond the borders of his own homeland, Hans Huber (1852-1921) enjoyed a hugely successful career not only as one of Switzerland’s most important musical nationalists, but as a highly-regarded composer, pianist and teacher whose music was known and admired by musicians across Europe and America. Following early training as a singer and organist in Solothurn, he studied with Carl Reinecke and Ernst Friedrich Wenzel at the Leipzig Conservatoire from 1870 to 1874. These years were to prove crucial to Huber’s musical development. He had the opportunity in Leipzig to make the acquaintance of Clara Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and other notable musical ‘conservatives’, and was a great admirer of the music of Brahms and Schumann in particular. But he also became deeply interested in the compositions of Franz Liszt and Richard Wagner, and later recalled the passionate aesthetic debates of his student years.1 He had not even completed his studies before he received job offers from both Switzerland and America (both of which he declined); and following a move to Basel in 1877, he joined the teaching staff of the Basler Musikschule, an organisation that he was subsequently to direct (in addition to founding a Konservatorium – now the Musik Akademie – which was amalgamated with the school) from 1896 to 1918.2

Huber was a prolific composer, particularly of vocal and piano music; but he also sought to develop musical language which was unique to Switzerland, a country which had previously produced several notable composers of choral music, but had little sense of an instrumental tradition. To this end, Huber’s output includes a number of pieces with explicitly nationalist titles: the “Tell” Symphony (1880) and “Schweizerische” Symphony (1917) are the first and seventh of his eight complete symphonies, and he also composed several Festspiele for large-scale music festivals that he organised in Basel, as well as a substantial number of chamber works (including nine violin sonatas). In addition to this, he gave numerous performances himself as a pianist, and conductor of major choral and orchestral organisations in his home city; and his determination to bring leading musicians to the Musikschule and Konservatorium resulted in visits from Emile Jacques-Dalcroze, Egon Petri and Ferruccio Busoni, amongst others. He successfully balanced a busy career as an educator, conductor, pianist, and composer of everything from major symphonic works to highly popular, commercially successful Hausmusik for amateur musicians.

The Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 111 is the first of three piano quintets within Huber’s output (the second, Op. 125, was completed in 1907 whilst the third, for wind instruments and piano, Op. 136, dates from 1914). Composed in 1893, this first Piano Quintet is generally regarded as being a somewhat uncharacteristic example of Huber’s chamber music, principally because of the extent to which it relies upon canonic and fugal devices in the working out of its musical material. For a composer whose output was praised in particular for its lyrical qualities – not to mention the success with which he composed songs and piano music for domestic consumption – this work struck both contemporary critics and subsequent commentators as unusual.


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Set Score & Parts


225 x 320 mm

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