String Quartet No.1 in B flat Major, Op.9
"In 1905, Volkmar Andreae's noteworthy First String Quartet was published. It definitely deserves concert performance, but experienced amateurs will also appreciate this fine work. The very fresh and original first movement, Ziemlich bewegtes Zeitmass (Allegro moderato) begins in the style of a fanfare. It has a lyrical main subject. The second theme full of feeling is also very effective. The development is masterly. The second movement, So rasch als möglich (as quick as possible), is a scherzo with two trios. The main theme is a wild chase, but the second theme has a march-like quality. The trio section in which both violins present the melody over the accompaniment in the lower voices is highly original. The second trio with its wayward harmony is plaint, with deep feeling. The next movement, Langsames Zeitmass (Slow), though not immediately apparent, is a very loose form of a Theme and Variations. Again there is a deeply felt melody with very intricate tonalities. The finale, Lebhaft bewegt (Vivace), has for its main subject a magnificent march-like melody. A joyful second theme is followed by a fugue. All this is followed by a superb, lyrical theme toward the end."---The noted chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.
Volkmar Andreae (1879-1962) was born in the Swiss capital of Bern. He studied at the Cologne Conservatory under Carl Munzinger and after a short stint at Munich working as an opera coach, he moved to Zurich where he lived for the rest of his life, becoming one of the most important figures on the Swiss musical scene. From 1906 to 1949, he was conductor of the renowned Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra and headed the Zurich Conservatory from 1914 to 1939. He conducted throughout Europe as was regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of Bruckner. In addition to his work as a conductor and teacher, he devoted considerable time to composing. While his works received praise from contemporary critics, like those of so many other modern composers, his works were not given a place in the standard repertoire.
This is a first class work which should have entered the modern repertoire, in explicably by-passed, perhaps Andreae, being a Swiss, was never able to get the attention the work might have achieved if he had been an Austrian or German. This first rate work, which never got the hearing it deserved. Out of print for long years, we hope that both professionals and amateurs will give it a chance.