String Quartet No.3 in G Major, Op.29
BoŽly's four string quartets Op. 27, 28, 29 and 30 were published in 1859, a year after his death, however, they were actually composed between 1824 and 1827. This fact, in and of itself, led to them being instantly ignored because the publisher did not make it clear that the quartets had actually been composed some 35 years before. Hence they were regarded as outmoded or at best a historical curiosity. The opening movement to String Quartet No.3, Allegro ma non troppo, has for its main theme a syncopated Beethovenian figure of the sort found in his Op.18. The music moves forward in jerky fashion, starting and stopping without warning, creating an original and interesting effect. A sad, funereal Adagio follows. Deeply felt, the voices are treated in chorale fashion until appearance of a more lyrical second section. Next comes a Schubertian Scherzo in which the scherzo is rather gentle while the trio section is more dramatic. The finale, Rondo, allegro moderato, is restless and searching, full of forward motion.
Alexandre BoŽly (1785-1858) was clearly an extraordinary man who truly marched to his own drum beat. Such independence of thought and taste led to his losing a prestigious position as an organist in one of France's leading churches for championing the music of Bach. Today, BoŽly is remembered as one of France's greatest organists from the first half of the 19th century. He was born at Versailles into a family of musicians. He excelled on the organ and piano and most of his compositions are for these instruments. However, he did write five string trios and four string quartets, which are among his most interesting works.
Out of print for more than a century, this is a historically important and very worthwhile work, with good part writing for all, and presenting no technical difficulties. It should be of interest ot professionals looking for an alternative to late Haydn or early Beethoven and is sure to give pleasure to amateurs as well.