Title: Piano Quintet
Performer: Martha Argerich, Dora Scharzberg, Lucy Hall, Nobuko Imai, Misch Maisky
Length: 30 minutes
While Schumann's string quartets did nothing for me, his piano quintet is a completely different story. This just comes to reinforce the idea of how much better he is at piano pieces than at other types of chamber music.
The piano is the driving force here, and the string play against it in a great way. All movements are memorable and touching be it the sprightly first movement or the funereal second movement.
So yes, that rarest of things, a chamber piece I really enjoy. The five instruments make the whole thing almost orchestral while retaining the delicate characteristics of chamber music. Good stuff indeed.
Schumann was the first romantic composer to pair the piano with the string quartet. "In the first happiness of reunion with the piano, his creative imagination took on a new lease of life," writes Joan Chisell. The ensemble was later used by many composers; some of the well-known quintets are by Johannes Brahms, Antonín Dvořák, César Franck, Edward Elgar, and Dmitri Shostakovitch.
Second movement, maybe a little too starry, album version is better: