The Quintet for Piano and Strings is a single-movement work divided into several discrete sections balancing ensemble components with solo interludes. The work is structurally derived from the establishment and fragmentation of four gestures, or musical "objects", and explores the relationship between the ensemble and its individual members.
Object 1 (Allegro energico) is a slow-moving series of sforzando chords connected by fast, scurrying linear material. Object 2 (Largo luminoso) is marked by soft trills and tremolos which eventually give way to the sweeping arpeggios of Object 3 (Brillante). Object 4 (Cantabile) is the simplest section, with the entire ensemble playing a unison line (the pitches of which are embedded as doubled notes in the chord sequence of Object 1).
Each object is presented in both solo and ensemble form. In each ensemble section, after a period of unity and cohesion, the ensemble begins to fragment and the individual players become more distinct as the object splits apart. The isolation of an individual player initiates a solo that introduces material for the next object, which is then taken up by the entire ensemble. Between the two versions of each object, a transitional section gradually integrates the rest of the ensemble until the solo is completely absorbed and the ensemble version commences. This transitional section is well defined in Objects 2 and 3, and more subtle in Objects 1 and 4. The viola's solo line of Object 4 slowly accumulates the other players, obscuring the boundary between solo and ensemble. The ensemble similarly gathers on the accented chords of Object 1's solo. The order of presentation for each object is solo-ensemble, however, Object 1's solo (shared between the two violins) is placed at the end of the work, casting a circular structure and offering a reflective context for the opening.
[excerpt: transition to Object 4 - Ensemble]