of Steve Jones
String Quartet No.2 in D Major, Op.39
Hermann Grädener (1844-1929) was born in the northern German city of Kiel. His father Karl was also a composer and teacher. In 1862, Hermann entered the Vienna Conservatory where he studied composition and violin. He worked for a number of years as a violinist in the Court Orchestra and gained a reputation as a respected composer and teacher, eventually holding a professorship at the Vienna Conservatory. He also served for a number of years as the director of the famed Vienna Singakademie. The important chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players described this work as follows:
"The second of Hermann Grädener's two noteworthy string quartets, Op.39, dates from 1905. The main theme of the first movement, Non troppo allegro, risoluto ed energico, has a somewhat unusual, swing tune for its main subject. The appealing main theme of the second movement, Andante, creates a very fine impression. A charming scherzo, Allegro molto leggiero, with an ingratiating trio section follows. The finale, Allegro energico ed un poco agitato, is dominated by its rhythm but also features an appealing and lilting main theme.
Long out of print or hard to obtain, we are pleased to reintroduce another substantial work from the late romantic era which deserves performance in the concert hall and which amateurs will also find engaging.