Emanuel Aloys Förster
String Quintet No.2 in a minor, Op.20
For 2 Violins, 2 Violas & Cello
“I came across Emanuel Aloys Förster’s three string quintets in the 1928 Memorial Edition of the Survey of Austrian Composers, Volume 67 where they were reprinted. They were originally published in 1802 in Vienna and are closer to concertante rather than polyphonic style. But while the first violin is given, as was typical for this time, much of the thematic material, all of the instruments are given solos. These quintets can be especially recommended to amateur players who will be sure to enjoy them. The very pronounced themes of the opening movement of Op.20, Allegro vivace, make a very good contrast to each other. A graceful Andante comes next. The sharply pronounced rhythm of the following Menuetto makes the excellent trio stand out all the more. The appealing main subject of the effective finale, Allegro non troppo, is somewhat elegiac and quite original sounding.”—–the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Chamber Music Handbook.
Emanuel Aloys Förster (1748-1823) was born in Niedersteine in the province of Silesia which at the time was part of the Austrian empire. Little is known of Förster’s musical training other than the fact that he was proficient on the organ, piano, violin, bass and oboe and that he began composing at an early age. From the several hundred works he composed, it appears that in his early works, he came under the influence of C.P.E. Bach. His later works show the influence of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Sometime around 1779, he arrived in Vienna where he remained for the rest of his life working as a teacher of piano and composition. He was also a frequent performer in various Viennese ensembles. He was on friendly terms with Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven among others, From the various concert program posters which survive from that era, we know that his string quartets, of which he wrote nearly 50, were often performed on program with those of his more famous friends. He wrote four works for string quintet, three actual quintets and a sonata fantasie. The Op.20 Quintet in a minor is the second of the three and was composed sometime during the 1790’s and published just after 1800.
When asked why he never wrote a string quintet, Haydn replied that no one ever asked him for one. This Förster quintet bears many similarities to the work of Haydn, though it is certainly not imitative and is fresh and original sounding. Chamber music players looking for a work from the late Viennese Classical Period would do well to make this quintet's acquaintance. Our new edition is based on the 1802 Traeg original edition.
Parts & Score: $37.95