String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.1
Roffredo Caetani's String Quartet No.1 in D Major dates from 1888. In the form of a Lisztian Tone Poem, it is in one extensive movement, well designed and with lush themes. The composer shows a fondness for the fugual form with which he appears to be well acquainted. Fast sections---Allegro and Allegro agitato---are quite original and are interspersed with slower ones. As one finds in Lizst, there is a repetition of sections. His musical ideas are attractive, especially so in the Un poco moderato episodes. ---the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.
Roffredo Caetani (1871-1961) was born in Rome. He was an Italian aristocrat, eventually holding the titles of Prince of Bassett and Duke of Sermoneta. His father had been mayor of Rome at one time, and served as president of the Rome Philharmonic. Franz Lizst was his godfather and it was Lizst who recognized the boy's musical talent and sent him to one of his favorite students, the piano virtuoso and one of Italy's leading composers Giovanni Sgambati. Caetani studied piano and composition with Sgambati. He then continued his studies in Vienna where he got to know Brahms and later in Berlin. Though not a prolific composer, he wrote operas, orchestral works and two string quartets. He taught at the conservatory in Rome which had been founded by Sgambati but was also active as a patron of the arts.
Unquestionably original and fresh sounding, the work requires players of professional standard or experienced amateur ensemble players. It is a fine work deserving performance and is sure to make a strong impression on its audience. Long out of print, we are pleased to make it available once more.