Serenade No.3 in e minor, Op.21
For 4 Violins, 2 Violas, 2 Cellos & Bass
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." That his compositions did not become better known was largely due to the fact that he did little to promote them, living a quiet life in Vienna and refusing to arrange concerts, even when the opportunity arose, in other cities. He certainly had his admirers, including many famous conductors such as Arthur Nikisch, Felix Weingartner and Hans Richter, who championed his works when they had the opportunity. The one exception to this was his serenades. His first became so popular that he eventually composed four more and he became known as the "Serenade Fox" (Fuchs is fox in German)
His Third Serenade for four violins, two violas, two cellos and bass or string orchestra dates from 1877 and was dedicated to the Empress of Austria, Elizabeth Habsburg. The somewhat sad main theme of the opening movement, Andante sostenuto, titled Romanze, is first sung by the violas, cellos and bass. It is valedictory music, tinged with a sense of regret. The second movement, a gently lilting Menuetto, is characterized by a Viennese elegance. The main section of the third movement, Allegretto grazioso, is a bright, light-footed march. The exciting finale, Allegro con fuoco, alla zingarese, as the title suggests has gypsy themes. Perhaps this explains the dedication to Elizabeth, who loved all things Hungarian.
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