Serenade No.1 in D Major, Op.9
For 4 Violins, 2 Violas, 2 Cellos & Bass
At its premiere, Fuchs' Serenade No.1 in D Major, Op.9 was highly praised and eventually became so popular that he wrote four more. They called him The Serenade Fox (Fuchs is fox in German). Unfortunately, these were virtually the only compositions of his which achieved fame, despite the fact that his music was highly regarded by most of the day's leading musicians, including Brahms who almost never praised the works of other composers. Brahms wrote, “Robert Fuchs is a splendid musician, everything is so fine and so skillful, so charmingly invented, that one is always pleased.”
Robert Fuchs (1847-1927) was born near the Styrian capital of Graz and attended the University of Vienna Conservatory studying with Otto Dessoff and Joseph Hellmesberger. By 1875, he himself was teaching at the Conservatory, eventually rising to the rank of Professor of Composition. He was one of the most famous and revered teachers of his time. Mahler, Sibelius, Hugo Wolf, Franz Schmidt, Alexander Zemlinsky, Franz Schrecker and Richard Heuberger were among his many students. The entry in Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music has this to say about Robert Fuchs: "Fuchs was an extremely refined and cultured composer. He stood high in favor with Brahms who continually gave him warm recommendations to publishers. Together with excellent technical equipment, he possessed the gift for writing charming melodies."
His First Serenade for four violins, two violas, two cellos and bass or string orchestra was dedicated to his fellow Schubert admirer, Nicholas Dumba, a wealthy industrialist, who had provided the funding to publish the first collected edition of Schubert’s works. The two dominant features of the work are lyricism and quiet introspection. The first of five movements, the opening Andante, is light, elegant and charming throughout. Next comes a Minuet, rather quiet and subdued, hardly something that could be danced to. It is followed by a fleet-footed Scherzo, bright and cheerful. The Adagio which follows is calm and meditative but without any hint of sadness. The finale, an Allegro, begins in a mischievous fashion dominated by its bumptious rhythm. A second contrasting theme is more lyrical.
Long out of print, we are pleased to reintroduce a work which makes a fine selection for nonet or string orchestra.
Parts & Score: $54.95