August Klughardt: Wind Quintet


Composed in 1898, August Klughardt’s Wind Quintet is one of his most timeless works. Inspired somewhat by the stylings of Franz Liszt, Richard Wagner and Robert Schumann, Klughardt’s music is conservative for the time, with his efforts going mostly into writing chamber music and symphonies. His Wind Quintet was composed in 1898, but was not published until 1901. This four-movement work encapsulates Klughardt’s classic style perfectly. 


The Music
Movement I – Allegro non troppo

After a rich and sonorous slow introduction that introduces all of the voices aptly, the first movement soon jumps into a playful character. The use of syncopated secondary themes add interest to the music as Klughardt’s masterful orchestrations shine through. The central tutti theme returns throughout the movement, bringing together the voices for a split second before the call and response structure returns. This movement has been described as having a set of interludes that takes us through the characters of each instrument in the quintet. Klughardt manages this by developing the theme and tying together melodies effectively. Warm in style, the opening movement concludes with a delicate re-telling of the opening theme. 


Movement II – Allegro vivace

The spritely scherzo second movement is full of fast and intricate movement that brings Klughardt’s music to life. The peppy upper winds add delicate decorations to the strong theme from the horn and bassoon. Klughardt uses dotted rhythms throughout this movement to bring together the themes in a circular manner. Once again Klughardt’s handling of the instruments is effective and allows for each voice to be heard easily both alone and within the overall quintet sound. After a slow trio section that explores the minor tonality, Klughardt brings the music back to the spritely opening theme before concluding with a light theme.


Movement III – Andante grazioso

Set as a stately minuet, the third movement is sweet in character and is initially led by the flute and clarinet. The warm addition of the lower winds adds a support foundation for the melodic instruments to sit on. The Romanticism of Klughardt’s style sings through in this movement, with rich textures and soaring melodies taking centre stage. Intricate voices intertwine to create a beautiful timbre that is utilised throughout. This movement ends quietly.


Movement IV – Adagio-Allegro molto vivace

Similarly to the opening movement, the finale opens with an extended slow introduction marked ‘Adagio’. Very spacious in style, Klughardt writes long unaccompanied solo lines that showcase each instrument. As the ‘Allegro molto vivace’ opens up, the acceleration across a number of bars adds excitement to the music as the voices band together to big tutti flourishes. There is a sense of drive in this movement, with Klughardt’s intricate writing adding to this effect. After a short recapitulation of the theme, the quinet concludes together, with the voices reuniting one final time.  


Ⓒ Alex Burns

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