Piano Quartet (2012)

Available from the Canadian Music Centre (CMC)

  • Piano Quartet Score
    Complete pdf
Instrumentation:Piano, Violin, Viola and Cello
Genre:Chamber Music with Piano

Commissioner: Ensemble Made-in-Canada

Dedication: Ensemble Made-in-Canada

Premiere: Ensemble Made-in-Canada Piano Quartet and premiered by the same performers, Music on Main Series, The Cellar Restaurant and Jazz Club, Vancouver, BC, March 13, 2012.

Duration: 33 minutes


  1. Con moto
  2. Adagietto—Presto misterioso—Adagietto
  3. Allegro ritmico

Program Note:John Burge’s first piano quartet is a big, three-movement work written by a composer who truly revels in the sonorous variety of textures and emotions that are possible in chamber music.  Each of the three movements has a particular character but an overall, arc-type formal structure is apparent in the way that the middle movement has a scherzo framed by two slow sections, all of which is surrounded by two faster-paced movements.  This central scherzo is unusual not only for its reckless speed, but also in the way that the music hides mysteriously in the background with muted strings and scurrying piano writing.  The work’s first movement begins with a somewhat minimalistic texture of repeated chords presented in an overlapping fashion between the piano and the strings who collectively employ passages of six-note, double-stopped chords.  This opening chordal material contrasts audibly with a quirky figure that wanders around in a more contrapuntal fashion for the rest of the first movement.  In the final movement, after a brief introduction, an energetic bass line heard first in the piano propels the music energetically forward in its many returns.  Before the end of the third movement, this rhythmic bass line builds to an initially hidden reappearance of the first movements repeated chords thereby reinforcing the overall arc of the composition.  John Burge is grateful to the talented performers of the Ensemble Made in Canada piano quartet for commissioning this work and to whom the work is dedicated.  The work was premiered on the ensemble’s tour of British Columbia and Alberta in the spring of 2012.

Full score and parts are available from the Canadian Music Centre for purchase (printable pdf or mail order), libary loan or nonprintable pdf for review purposes: Piano Quartet (CMC)

Repeat performances:

  • Ensemble Made-in-Canada on the Aurora Chamber Music Series, January 30, 2014.
  • Ensemble Made-in-Canada on the Music at Port Milford Concert Series, St. Mary’s Church, Picton, Ontario, on August 2, 2013.
  • Ensemble Made-in-Canada at the Kitchener-Waterloo Chamber Music Society Concerts, Kitchener-Waterloo, ON, on May 9, 2012.
  • Ensemble Made-in-Canada, at the Syrinx Sunday Salon Concerts, Toronto, ON, on May 6, 2012.
  • Ensemble Made-in-Canada Piano Quartet, on the University of Calgary Chamber Music Series, Eckhardt-Gramette Hall, University of Calgary, March 24, 2012.
  • Ensemble Made-in-Canada Piano Quartet at the Mary Winspear Centre, Sidney, BC, March 20, 2012.
  • Ensemble Made-in-Canada Piano Quartet at a Kamloops Chamber Music Series concert, Calvary Community Church, Kamloops, BC, March 19, 2012.
  • Ensemble Made-in-Canada Piano Quartet at a Chamber Music Kelowna Society concert, Mary Irwin Theatre, Rotary Centre for the Arts, Kelowna, BC, March 17, 2012.