When it was premiered, it was called the "greatest piece in the genre since Brahms" but nowadays Bloch's Piano Quintet No. 1 is less often played.
A quintet from the Minnesota Orchestra plays it this Sunday evening at MacPhail in Minneapolis and gives us good reason to put this quintet front and center.
Bloch was a violin protege of Eugene Ysaye and put into his chamber music demanding virtuosic lines, full-bodied tutti fortes, emotion-laden devices like 'sul ponticello' and quarter-tones, as well as seemingly never-ending trills and runs.
Though the work is classical in formal style, there is a sense of non-stop energy that even in moments of repose seem to never let go.
Listen to the first movement of this miraculous quintet with Stephanie Arado and Celine Leathead, violins; Ben Ullery, viola; Janet Horvath, cello; and Susan Billmeyer, piano.
Janet begins the interview speaking about some of the complexities of the quintet.