String Quartet in D Major, Op.14
The original edition of Fritz Bovet's String Quartet in D Major was reprinted some years ago wrongly attributing the composition to a relative whose name was actually Fritz Bovet. Our man's real name, however, was not Fritz Bovet but Frederick Bovet (1825-1913) He was known by his nickname Fritz and it was under this name that his music was published. He was born in London to Alphonse Bovet, a Swiss who emigrated to London and who was son of the founder of the Bovet Watch Company. He studied violin briefly at the Royal Academy of Music with the English virtuoso Henry Blagrove, who himself had studied with Spohr, and although Bovet reached a high level of proficiency, he entered the family watch business and was eventually sent to China. He used his musical ability to transcribe music for music boxes intended for the Chinese market. (We are indebted to John and Rosemary Haden, descendants of the composer for some of this biographical information)
The String Quartet in D Major was published in 1911 two years before his death, but it clearly was not composed then. Rather it dates from the 1840's before he was sent by his family to China. It is an attractive effective work, well-written for all of the instruments and showing that Bovet could have pursued a career as a professional musician had he so chosen. The melodies of the opening movement, Allegro molto ma sostenuto, flow along effortlessly full of forward motion. The second movement, Andante religioso e cantabile, is set of variations based on a lovely folk tune. Next comes a Minuetto, straight forward with hints of Beethoven. The finale, Allegro vivace, begins with a short but ominous introduction and is followed by a bright, whirling tarantella.
We have corrected several errors which appeared in the original and are pleased to offer this work which should be of especial interest to amateur groups as it offers no technical difficulties.