Franck's Piano Quintet in F minor was composed in the winter of 1878-1879, a time during which some biographers suggest he was infatuated with on of his students. An ultra-expressive worl - Nadia Boulanger said it contains more ppp and fff markings than any other chamber piece - it may have been inspired by this passion, which might also account for the disgust Franck's wife registered publically for it.
!st movement: Molto moderato quasi lento
The first movement opens with a dramatic introduction. The piano replies in a gentle manner. The strings restate their opening. The dialogue continues along similiar lines until the piano suddenly launches tinto the Allegro. The second subject is characterized by a wistful inflextion to minor. The development reaches a stormy climax.
2nd movement: Lento, con molto sentimento
The second movement is also in sonata form. It opens with a motive with a falling figure on the first violin, with a background of repeated chords of the piano. Then a gentle melody in the lower strings is accompanied by piano in the high register. In the ventral section, the piano brings back the second subject of the opening.
3rd movement: Allegro non troppo, ma con fuoco
The third movement is charactrerized by a relentless rhythmic drive. It opens with a repeated soft motive in the strings from which the first subject emerges. The second subject hegins with a piano theme accompanied by the strings. Near the ending, the second subject of the Allefro reappears, but the rhythmic urgency resumes and brings the work to an intense eading.
Compare with Franck's piano quintet, Saint-Saens piano quintet op.14 in A minor consists of four movements and carries an external impression of fealing and construction that are distinctively classical.
Saint-Saens piano quintet youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRu1aSvzQPg
From my point of view, the architecture of this piano quintet is in many ways classical and the structure is supported by Franck's tonal architecture and its flexible chromatic harmony. It is absolutly a very virtuosic Romantic chamber piece.
Burkholder, J. Peter, Donald Jay Grout, and Claude V, Oalisca. A History of Western Music. Eighth Edition. (W.W. Norton and Campany, New York, New York). 2010
Cesar Franck: A Reserved Romantic http://www.uh.edu/~tkoozin/projects/hitomi/Franck.html
"Cesar Franck piano quintet in f minor, mvt.1" Youtube Video. Uploaded May.27, 2009. Posted by “classical spotlight”. Accessed April 20, 2014.