Soundbites Courtesy of
String Quintet No.3 in D Major, Op.21
For 2 Violins, Viola, Cello and Bass (or 2 Cellos)
The String Quintet No.3 in D Major, Op.21 for 2 violins, violas, cello and bass dates from 1857 and was dedicated to Achille Gouffé, principal bassist of the Paris Opera Orchestra. It was George Onslow, the most important French composer of chamber music the generation before Blanc, who had made this combination popular and Gouffé was also the dedicatee of one of Onslow’s most popular quintets. In three movements, the Quintet begins with an Allegro moderato. The first violin introduces an upliftiing and fetching melody soon to be joined by the cello. The telling use of the bass is evident when the second more rhythmical subject is introduced by the cello and bass in octaves. The middle movement, Menuet, Moderato, quasi andante, begins in a relaxed mood. Its main theme is rather classical in style, like those of the Viennese Masters. The trio is actually more lively than the minuet with the lower voices given several opportunities to duplicate the quick running passages in the higher voices. The finale, Allegro, is full of good spirits and charm. From start to finish, Blanc reveals not only his gift for melody but also his mastery of string writing, perhaps no surprise as he was a first class violinist and chamber music performer. In this Allegro, Blanc gives a doff of his cap to Beethoven when he produces his second theme which recalls the finale of the third Rasumovsky Quartet, Op.59 No.3. Of course Blanc’s treatment is rather different and original. We wish to thank C2 Hamburg and the Fabergé Quintet for allowing us to use soundbites from their CD Adolf Blanc Quintets, Catalog No. ES 2046 available in records shops everywhere.
Adolphe Blanc (1828-1885) was born in the French town of Manosque. His musical talent was recognized early and he entered the Paris Conservatory at age 13 first taking a diploma in violin and then studying composition with the then famous composer Fromental Halevy. Although for a time, he served as a music director of a Parisian theater orchestra, he primarily devoted himself to composing and most of his works were for chamber ensembles. During his lifetime, these works were much appreciated by professionals and amateurs alike and in 1862 he won the prestigious Chartier Chamber Music Prize. Besides the fact that his works are pleasing and deserving of performance, Blanc's historical importance cannot be underestimated. He was one of the very few in France trying to interest the public, then with only ears for opera, in chamber music. He paved the way for the success of the next generation of French composers, Among his chamber works are three string trios, four string quartets, seven string quintets—four for 2 violins, viola, cello and bass or two cellos, the other three for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello—-fifteen piano trios, three piano quartets, four piano quintets and a septet for winds and strings.
Please note: We looked for a set of parts for many years and at last were able to find a copy of the one and only edition at a library where they were bound in a large volume that made scanning quite difficult and created some staff bending, Additionally, it must be noted, the publisher did not use good quality ink or paper. The result being that the ink on these nearly 160 year old parts had faded in places and there were all sorts of water marks, smudges, and detritus. We have spent many hours digitally cleaning, darkening, lightening and correcting errors and have been able to create a very serviceable performance edition in order to save this fine work from oblivion. The music is easy to read and we have added rehearsal numbers, but, it is not pristine like a newly published work nor the equal in quality of a modern edition. The price, less than our generally very low prices, reflects this fact.
|(A) 2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Bass-Parts||$27.95|
|(B) 2 Violins, Viola & 2 Cellos-Parts||$27.95|
|(C) All Six Parts||$34.95|