Recommended Listening: Schubert’s Piano Quintet In A Major

I recently picked this at random from my list of classical pieces to hear and study, downloading a copy from the library district to listen to at work, and listening to it on YouTube at home.  This is great music.

This piano quintet, also called the “Trout” quintet, for some reason, immediately struck me as having a special balance: it follows a typical pattern of varying speeds throughout, but achieves a unique niche within that structure, namely, that the fast movements are still pleasantly peaceful (almost subdued to the point of tranquility at points), and the slower movements still have substantial energy to them, while each part is still distinctly a discrete unit.  All of this exists while the music itself communicates an organically original theme. 

I realize how mundane this commentary must be to those with the language and background to understand great music far better than I can, but while my adoration of this piece is shallow, it is sincere.  (Which, I suppose, could also apply to more than one of my youthful relationships, alas.)  Actually, it is music like this that makes me want to learn more about classical music, for while I truly enjoy it as I am now, I am without doubt that a deeper education on my part, a more profound literacy in the language of music, would enable me to unlock and appreciate this work at a level that I currently don’t even know exists.

I feel that constantly while listening to it.  Like many of my favorite things–landscape art, the Bible, The Simpsons–it’s easy to love for its powerful beauty and originality, qualities so in abundance that they’re apparent to even the most untrained layman, but if one cares to delve further into the endless treasure chests they hide at nearly infinite levels, one finds a heaven eager to reward and always full of happy surprises. 

Such is my relative illiteracy in music, though, that I can only understand my positive attraction to it, much less describe it to you, by comparing it to literature and cartoons.  I stand in need of a new lexicon.  Hopefully, as I continue to surround my soul with things like Schubert’s piano quintet, my vocabulary will grow. 

Recommended for:

  • road trips in a northwesterly or a southeastern direction
  • lunch dates
  • eating candy after yoga
  • blogging, with love and squalor
  • fishing, apparently

2 comments on “Recommended Listening: Schubert’s Piano Quintet In A Major

  1. I used to listen to a program called “Adventures in Great Music”. They taught novices about music theory to enhance appreciation. For example, they taught that the circle of fifths gives a feeling of completeness and perfection. Then I noticed that it is used in the endowment film at points when showing God and Jehovah. The theory helped me understand why the music felt right.

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