Piano Quartet in A minor, Op. 67
Length: c. 18 minutes
About this Piece
Like many so-called nationalist composers, Joaquín Turina strove to infuse his music with the spirit of his homeland—in his case, Spain—while not abandoning traditional forms. A product of the Royal Conservatory in Madrid, he initially followed a path dominated by French and German models. He even traveled to Paris to study with Vincent d’Indy and d’Indy’s teacher, César Franck. One night in a Parisian café, Turina and another young Spaniard, Manuel de Falla, were upbraided by Spain’s foremost composer, Isaac Albéniz, for not adequately tapping into the folk music of their own country.
Turina would continue to work in traditional forms, but his concert works, such as the Piano Quartet in A minor, successfully marry Spanish idioms with compositional techniques steeped in mainstream Europe. The first movement, rather than a quick sonata form, is a soulful, lilting evocation of a night in Turina’s native Seville. The second movement is dance-like, with plucked strings suggesting the clackety-clack-clack of castanets. The third movement is a broad rhapsody on Spanish melodic types and again reinterprets and reuses material from the opening—a unifying device that was frequently employed by d’Indy and his teacher Franck.