String Quintet in d minor, Op.134
For 2 Violins, Violas & 2 Cellos
Encouraged by his father to pursue a musical career, Johann Justus Friedrich Dotzauer (1783-1860) studied the piano and violin before eventually choosing the cello as his main instrument. His talent was clear to all early on and he began giving concerts by the time he was fifteen. A few years later, he was serving as a cellist in the court orchestra of Meiningen. Eventually he was able to obtain the prestigious position of solo cellist in the Royal Orchestra at Dresden. His playing dazzled all who heard it, and his skills as a teacher resulted in what became known as the "Dresden school" of cello performance. He concertized to much acclaim throughout Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and France, continuing to perform in public right up until his retirement in 1850. Many of his students became famous cellists in their own right and include such names as Friedrich Grützmacher, Bernhard Cossmann and Julius Goltermann.
Dotzauer's compositions for the cello are still performed by cellists and his pedagogical writings for the cello are frequently used in the classroom, however his many excellent compositions in other genres, including his String Quintet in d minor, Op.134, have sadly fallen into oblivion. But, in his day, this was not the case. A prominent music critic writing in the prestigious Leipzig music periodical, the Allgemeiner musicalische Zeitung, wrote, "In this concert we also heard a new work by Dotzauer. The mere mention of the name of this excellent composer is enough to insure those among the public who truly under stand art that the work was a resounding success.”
The opening Allegro of the String Quintet in d minor, Op.134 begins with a short dramatic and powerful introduction which leads to the lyrical main theme. The second theme is a duet between the first cello and first violin. The Minuetto which follows is not a true minuet but a scherzo with a beautiful trio. The slow movement, Poco Adagio, is based on a simple folk melody which Dotzauer clothes in lovely harmonies and an original development. The finale, Allegro spirituoso, is full of forward motion unexpectedly interspersed lyrical melodies. Here, we have a work which is the equal of Spohr and Onslow.
Originally published in 1835, there have been no subsequent editions. Our edition is a reprint of the 1835 original, which had several errors in it and also lacked any rehearsal letters. We have added rehearsal letters, cleaned it up and made corrections where required. However, readers should be aware of two things: 1. Even brand new editions of music printed before 1860 were never as readable as modern editions and 2. We were working off of a 170 year old piece of music. Nothing that old is ever pristine. However, our reprint is readable, it just is not up to modern standards. It is our hope that by reprinting the music, we have rescued a fine work from an underserved oblivion.