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Thread: Favourite Chamber Instrumentation

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    Default Favourite Chamber Instrumentation

    What's your favourite ensemble of instruments for chamber music, ten instruments or less, and if you could only recommend one piece with that instrumentation, what would it be?

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    Senior Member Stargazer's Avatar
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    I'd say my favorite would be a flute/viola/harp trio. There's only a handful of works I know of that use it, but I feel like the instruments complement themselves very well and I really love the result. My favorite work with that setup would be Debussy's sonata for flute, viola, and harp.

    As an aside, I feel like the harp is really underused in a lot of classical music, particularly chamber works...it's one of my favorite instruments!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stargazer View Post
    I'd say my favorite would be a flute/viola/harp trio. There's only a handful of works I know of that use it, but I feel like the instruments complement themselves very well and I really love the result. My favorite work with that setup would be Debussy's sonata for flute, viola, and harp.

    As an aside, I feel like the harp is really underused in a lot of classical music, particularly chamber works...it's one of my favorite instruments!
    Haha! That's exactly what I was going to post when I saw this thread's question! Flute-Harp-Viola for the Win! And even just Flute and Harp, that is the ultimate Divine Duo imo.
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    Voice, cello, piano.
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    Glassharmonica, oboe, flute, viola and cello.

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    Piccolo, trumpet and xylophone hands-down.

    Only piece I can think of is my trio sonata no. 1
    Last edited by ComposerOfAvantGarde; May-06-2012 at 09:41.

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    The piano quintet is such a nice ensemble that I often find myself waiting for the piano when I listen to string quartets.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ComposerOfAvantGarde View Post
    Piccolo, trumpet and xylophone hands-down.

    Only piece I can think of is my trio sonata no. 1
    Another good one: vibraphone, cello and harpsichord.

    Only piece I can think of is my trio sonata no. 2

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    The piano quintet (piano, 2 violins, viola, and cello) is clearly my favorite instrumentation. The expressiveness of the strings along with the versatility of the piano makes a perfect union. When exploring a new composer, I will generally sample symphonies or violin/piano concertos first, but I will always look for piano quintets first among chamber works.

    My favorite:

    Schumann
    Dvorak (second)
    Brahms

    Of course the most wonderful piano quintet of all is the Schubert Trout, but that was written for bass rather than second violin. While I simply adore that piece, I still prefer the second violin.

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    Senior Member Webernite's Avatar
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    I guess... string quartet.

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    I'm pretty sure I like the string quintet with double bass... If I could just remember where I've heard it. Boccherini?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hilltroll72 View Post
    I'm pretty sure I like the string quintet with double bass... If I could just remember where I've heard it. Boccherini?
    The vast majority of Boccherini's quintet's used 2 cellos, some used 2 violas, and 3 used basses. There is also a lovely quintet by Dvorak using bass (Op. 77). Holmboe also wrote a bass quintet, but I have never heard it.

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    Guitar
    Bass
    Synth
    Drums

    I think that is the core template, then you can add vocals and sax as auxiliary instruments. Stripped down to its basic setup and synth would do the job alone.

    For the sole piece using that instrumentation, I'd recommend Michael Rother's Flammende Herzen. An absolute gem of a piece.

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    I've no favourite configuration in particular but I do especially like the sparser textures that just two instruments can provide, especially if the work is of the more modern variety.

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    I don't really have a favorite instrumentation, all though I've noticed that I really enjoy the sound of a piano in Chamber music. Anything can be amazing to me if its well composed. Two of my favorite chamber works are Ravel's Piano Trio and the previously mentioned Debussy Sonata. I might deduce that I most enjoy trios of some variety from this, but I think it has more to do with me loving Ravel and Debussy.

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