Quartet No.2 in c minor for Clarinet & Strings, Op.4
Bernhard Crusell (1775-1838) was born in Finland in the largely Swedish speaking town of Nystad (Uusikaupunki in Finnish) Despite his talent, his parents discouraged his interest in music, although he managed to teach himself to play the clarinet by ear. At age 13, he was finally allowed to take lessons from a military band officer in Helsinki. Soon after, he moved to Stockholm and established himself as a soloist, while serving as First Clarinet in the Royal Swedish Court Orchestra). By happy coincidence, the conductor was the German composer Abbé Vogler from whom Crusell started composition lessons, later studying in Berlin and with Gossec in Paris.
Virtually all of his compositions include the clarinet. His three quartets for clarinet, violin, viola and cello are really his only chamber music. His second Clarinet Quartet dates from 1804 and is on the fence between the late classical and the early romantic. As one might expect, the clarinet part is quite prominent with several sections designed to showcase the clarinetist's skill, however, the strings are not ignored. The music is full of appealing melodies which made it a popular program choice throughout the 19th century.
The quartet was published by Peters in 1804. We were fortunate to work off of a very clean copy of it to which we have added rehearsal numbers and corrected a few mistakes. As noted, it makes an attractive program choice