Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf
String Quartet No.3 in G Major
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 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.
String Quartet No.3 dates from his middle period by which time Dittersdorf had turned away from the Italian school of composition and has adopted the Mannheim style which both Mozart and Haydn did during the 1770's and which eventually developed in the style we now call Vienna Classic. Typical of Mannheim works the quartets all have three movements. Although the opening movement is marked Moderato, it is more in the nature of an allegro. A small fugue is inserted between themes. The second movement, Menuetto, moderato, begins is another excellent example of a typical minuet from this period. The trio provides fine contrast. In the finale, Presto, we have an early example of a rondo. There are 2 Alternativos and a coda.
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