String Quartet No.2-World Premiere Edition
“This excellent composer does not deserve the neglect with which he has been treated. He had a mastery of form and a lively imagination which is clearly reflected in the fine and attractive ideas one finds in his works.”
So wrote Wilhelm Altmann, probably the most important chamber music critic of the 20th century, of Franck’s chamber music, comments:
Eduard Franck (1817-1893) was born in Breslau, the capital of the Prussian province of Silesia. He was the fourth child of a wealthy and cultivated banker who exposed his children to the best and brightest that Germany had to offer. Frequenters to the Franck home included such luminaries as Heine, Humboldt, Heller, Mendelssohn, and Wagner. His family’s financial position allowed Franck to study with Mendelssohn as a private student in Dusseldorf and later in Leipzig. As a talented pianist, he embarked upon a dual career as a concert artist and teacher for more than four decades during the course of which he held many positions. Although he was highly regarded as both a teacher and performer, he never achieved the public recognition of his better known contemporaries such as Mendelssohn, Schumann or Liszt.
String Quartet No.2 was composed around 1870. Franck appears to have taken Beethoven's Harp Quartet, Op.74 as his model. The quartet begins with a very lengthy, searching Adagio introduction. The tonality, in the minor, is strikingly advanced and calls to mind Late Beethoven. It leads to the main part of the movement, Allegro, without pause. (our sound-bite begins here) This Allegro begins with a joyous theme which becomes increasingly excited until the first violin breaks loose with some measures of thrilling arpeggios, again reminiscent of the The Harp. The second movement, Adagio molto espressivo, though not marked "pathetico" is clearly in a tragic if not funereal mood. This is lovely and highly contemplative music. The bright and lively scherzo, Allegro, which follows dispels the aura of despondency. Franck concludes the quartet with a set of variations, again like Beethoven in his Harp Quartet. Ending with variations is a very hard to do and one which very few composers have succeeded in doing it well. But Franck succeeds brilliantly where others have failed. The theme is a simple, almost too simple, Scottish folktune. Our sound-bite presents about a third of the variations, and includes the thrilling conclusion.
This fine work remained in manuscript until Eduard Franck's grandson, Professor Dr. Paul Franck and great grandson, Dr. Andreas Franck, had it arranged for a private setting so that a recording could be made. We wish to thank them for making it available. We are proud to be able to present the first commercial edition of this work and recommend it to both professionals and amateurs alike.
Parts & Score $31.95