Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf

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String Quintet (2 Cellos) No.6 in G Major, Kr.190

Ditterdorf's String Quintet No.6 came into being as a result of a 1789 visit to the cello-playing King of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm. He did not wish to come empty-handed, especially since Haydn, Mozart and Ignaz Pleyel among others had visited the king before him and all had presented string quartets, in which the cello had special solos, to the king. Hence Dittersdorf presented the king with a set of six string quintets in which the first cello was given several  beautiful solos in each work.  Dittersdorf’s quintets seem to be the only example of quintets for 2 cellos given to the king and, with the exception of those of Boccherini, are among the earliest quintets for 2 cellos. The String Quintet in G Major is the last of the set. Dittersdorf seemed partial to the three movement format. In this quintet, as in the others, he eliminates the minuet. In all three movements—–Allegro, Adagio non molto and Andante—– the first cello is given several opportunities to present the expressive melodies. Dittersdorf, in an unusual move, ends the work with a charming Andante, which though by no means slow, is nonetheless not an Allegro.


Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739-1799) was born in Vienna and was recognized as a child prodigy on the violin and one of the great violin virtuosos of the 18th century. The first part of his life was spent as a touring virtuoso and in especially in Italy he enjoyed many triumphs. The second half of his life was spent as a composer and music director at various aristocratic courts. His output voluminous and he is generally regarded after Mozart and Haydn as one of the most important representatives of the Vienna Classical era. Originally, his music showed the influence of the Italian composers but as time went by his familiarity with the compositions of Mozart and Haydn greatly changed his compositional style. He knew both men personally and the three of them sometimes performed string quartets in Vienna along with Vanhal. Dittersdorf played first violin, Haydn second violin, Mozart viola and Vanhal played cello.


Here is another useful addition to the cello quintet literature and is, along the others from the set, virtually the only one from the middle classical era.

Parts: $19.95


Parts & Score: $24.95




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