Home / Works / Grande Fantaisie-Quintette (Rita Strohl)

Print content of page

Grande Fantaisie-Quintette (Rita Strohl)




For piano, 2 violins, viola and cello
Moderato maestoso – Scherzo – Intermezzo – Thème et variations


At the beginning of the Third Republic, under the impetus of Saint-Saëns, Castillon and Franck, the piano quintet was adopted in France as a serious and essential vehicle for Romantic expression. Rita Strohl, however, approached the genre early on in her career without being overly concerned about respect for rules or conventions. The title “Fantaisie-Quintette” clearly indicates her firm intent to follow her own inspiration. This readily dramatic piece progresses without any clear formal structure; instead, scattered ideas are developed harmonically or melodically. The treatment of the instrumental ensemble also diverges from current norms: rather than seeking balance between the instruments, Strohl favours the piano part, thereby giving the score the appearance of a concerto, with the string quartet providing a regular homorhythmic accompaniment. The piano part also shows the influence of the great standards of the late nineteenth century, from Beethoven and Mendelssohn to Bach (whose keyboard works were enjoying a revival at that time). Composed at La Trinité-sur-Mer in September 1886 – two years before her first marriage and therefore signed with her maiden name “Rita La Villette” – the Fantaisie-Quintette was never published, but according to the composer’s catalogue of her works, it nevertheless received a public premiere (“Exécuté à Lorient par un groupe de professeurs et d’amateurs”).

    Person - 1
  • STROHL, Rita (1865-1941)
  • Themes - 2
  • Women composers
  • Chamber music – The piano quintet in the nineteenth century