Over the centuries, the production of chamber music for small ensembles - from the trio to the quintet - has also been a field of experimentation for composers associated with imposing symphonic output. This extraordinary event will feature Gabriele Geminiani, Orchestra di Santa Cecilia's first cello, alongside the pianist Enrico Pace, violinist Alexandra Conunova and violist Beatrice Muthelet, soloists in the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, performing three marvellous quartets with piano. For Brahms, small ensembles were a constant throughout his composing career, and his Quartet no. 1, written in the summer of 1861 when he was not yet thirty years of age, is one of the first sublime examples in which Brahms's dense writing cuts through the instruments with a balanced sound and timbric variety. Fauré looked to Brahms as the nineteenth century drew to a close, creating, in Piano Quartet no. 1, a perfect synthesis of formal rigour and melodic liveliness. Only for Mahler was the piano quartet an isolated experience, bearing witness to his years of study at the Vienna Conservatory, a happy break in the continuity of an output prevailingly for large orchestras.