String Quartet No.3 in c minor
Donizetti's String Quartet No.3 in c minor is an early work which dates from 1818, while the composer was still studying with his teacher Simon Mayr. It is in four movements and opens with a very operatic Piu allegro, which by virtue of its rhythm has a martial aura to it. Next comes a lovely Adagio, ma non troppo, which foreshadows his tremendous vocal ability. The third movement is a fleet Scherzo, vivace. The exciting finale, Presitissimo, races alnng, full of forward motion.
Donizetti (1797-1848) was born in Bergamo, Italy of humble origins. His father was an assistant at the village pawnshop. In 1806, at the age of 9, he was able to attend a charitable school and there met the then famous composer, Simone Mayr, who became his mentor and lifelong friend. Donizetti is well-known, of course, as a composer for the opera. However, many will be surprised to learn that he did write a fair amount of chamber music, including 18 string quartets, some string quintets, piano trios, and an octet for winds and strings along with several other instrumental works.
While no great masterpiece, this charming work nonetheless is a worthwhile representative of the early Italian romantic movement.