This is one of the most dramatic of chamber pieces. Its opening movement is propulsive, its questing first subject beginning with declamatory five-note motive which rises and falls spikily, then repeating a rhythmic tag. It contrasts with an incantatory second subject which carries with it a chirping, bird-like figure. The second movement is a lyrical transformation of the same ideas with a faster central section, while the finale is an even more driven version of the first movement's materials. The only real relaxation and calm in the music is the remarkable coda, which brings the entire work to an unexpectedly peaceful conclusion.
Even more remarkable is the vocabulary - Bloch liberally uses quarter-tone intervals, mainly for colour, rather than as part of any harmonic system, but they do add an eerie quality to many sections of the score. This is one of the exceptional masterpieces of the Piano Quintet literature. This set contains all the parts - the piano score also contains all the string parts for rehearsal purposes.