Ries & Limmer: Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet

In this video

Composer: Ferdinand Ries, Franz Limmer
Artists: Nepomuk Fortepiano Quintet

This premiere release contains pianoforte quintets by two early Romantics. Ferdinand Ries is best known for being a favourite pupil of Beethoven. In his works he takes distance from the Classicism and is the forerunner of Romantics like Mendelssohn and Schumann. Franz Limmer’s quintet is an amazing piece, full of virtuosity and stormy romantic emotions.

Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) was born in Bonn and moved to Vienna in 1801, where his life became closely related to that of Ludwig van Beethoven (also a native of Bonn..). Ries studied piano with him, copied his scores and was the interpreter of several new works, notably the premiere of the Third Piano Concerto. Ries also wrote the first biography of Beethoven, an invaluable source of first-hand information. Ries’s style inevitably is modelled on that of his master Beethoven, he was however strong enough to stand on his own.

Limmer’s musical talent was recognised early on. His parents enrolled him at the Vienna
Conservatory, where he studied, among other subjects, the cello and the clarinet. Following his final
exams, along with his certificate, he received a silver medal with Mozart’s portrait. He went on to
study harmony, composition and orchestration, his teacher being none other than the highly
esteemed Viennese composer and pedagogue Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried (1776–1841). An early
testimony of Limmer’s activity as a composer is to be found in a collection of 40 new waltzes for
piano, edited in 1824 by the Weiglschen Verlag. Alongside short compositions by Beethoven,
Josef Böhm, Josef and Carl Czerny, Hellmesberger and Ignaz Ritter von Seyfried, we also find a
waltz by J.F. Limmer. The fact that Limmer’s name appeared in this collection speaks volumes about
the talent of the composer, who was only 16 at the time. A bold and successful attempt to
incorporate everything he had learned from Seyfried, the Waltz in F major displays many harmonic
turns and chromaticisms in its 16 bars. Another early work was a Mass in D major, written when
Limmer was 17. This was premiered in the Augustinerkirche in Vienna, and the reviews praised the
composer as a ‘bright meteor in the musical sky’. Unfortunately, the score has never been traced.
However, this work may in fact have been the Missa solemnis No.1 in C major, which was still
being performed in the cathedral of Timisoara after Limmer’s death, as we know from a newspaper
announcement from 1872.

00:00:00 Ferdinand Ries: Piano Quintet in B Minor, Opus 74: I Grave – allegro con brio
00:09:24 Ferdinand Ries: Piano Quintet in B Minor, Opus 74: II Larghetto
00:14:22 Ferdinand Ries: Piano Quintet in B Minor, Opus 74: III Rondo (allegro-andantino-allegro)
00:21:20 Franz Limmer: Piano Quintet in D Minor, Opus 13: I Allegro energico
00:37:22 Franz Limmer: Piano Quintet in D Minor, Opus 13: II Scherzo
00:45:19 Franz Limmer: Piano Quintet in D Minor, Opus 13: III Adagio
00:55:09 Franz Limmer: Piano Quintet in D Minor, Opus 13: IV Finale

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