String Quartet No.9 in d minor
Gaetano Donizetti's String Quartet No.9 in d minor dates from 1821 during a period his biographers refer to as his “Quartet Years”. He had left the conservatory in Bologna and was starting to earn a living as best he could. Frequently, he was asked to join amateur quartet groups and to bring something of his. Quartet No.9 begins with an interesting Allegro which features several responsions between the first violin and cello. The second movement, Larghetto, is dark, a bit threatening and moody. Next comes a Haydnesque Minuetto, which is evidence that Simon Mayr, Donizetti's main teacher, exposed him to the Vienna Classics. The quartet concludes with a fleet-footed Allegro vivace.
Gaetano 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.
Certainly amateurs will enjoy playing this tuneful work which makes no technical demands on the players.