Virtuoso Piano Quartets • The German-Dutch composer Johann Wilhelm Wilms lived during the interesting transitional period between Classicism and Romanticism and therefore numbers among the composers who built on Haydn and Mozart and formed the bridge to Mendelssohn, Schumann, and Chopin. His two Piano Quartets op. 22 and op. 30 were published in 1808 and 1812 but must have been composed a few years earlier. Although they continue to adhere completely to the spirit of the eighteenth century, above all in formal matters, they make use of all the advances in intensified virtuosity and harmonic freedom, so that they operate on the same high level as the masterpieces composed during the same period by Franz Danzi, Prince Louis Ferdinand of Prussia, and Carl Maria von Weber. Wilms was not only a flutist and a pianist but also a master of instrumentation and more successfully than other composers of his times maintained the difficult balance between the concertizing piano, which mostly brilliantly and triumphantly shines, and the strings, which skillfully accompany it while also enjoying their share of the spotlight as soloists.
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