String Quartet in a minor, Op.32
Perhaps it was coincidence, but Ferdinand David (1810-1873) was born in the same house in Hamburg as Felix Mendelssohn one year later. The two became colleagues and friends. David studied violin with the famous virtuoso Louis Spohr. He served as concertmaster of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra under the baton of Mendelssohn and held the position of Professor of Violin at the Leipzig Conservatory. Among his many famous students were Joseph Joachim and August Wilhelmj. His name has endured as the editor of several famous chamber music works and as well as pieces for the violin. Among his compositions still in use are his Advanced School of Violin Playing and Art of Bowing.
His String Quartet in a minor appeared in 1862. In four movements, it is in the tradition of Schumann and Mendelssohn, but does not sound anything like their quartets. The opening movement. Allegro, has a gorgeous, long-lined and lilting melody, presented by the viola against a syncopated accompaniment in the other voices. The second theme brings the music to a powerful and dramatic climax. The Adagio which follows begins with pregnant pauses. The main theme is a lovely, lyrical melody which is developed with a series of interesting rhythmic variations. Next comes a Scherzo with an original lopsided, rhythmic theme that has just a touch of the exotic, perhaps orient. An exciting finale, Allegro molto, tops off the fine work.
Only printed once, this lovely work has been unavailable for over 100 years. We have reprinted the original edition but have corrected mistakes and added rehearsal letters. We feel this work would do well in concert and certainly should not be missed by amateur groups on account of its fine part-writing and lack of any great technical difficulties.