Capriccio No.2 in G Major for 3 Violins, Op.5
Friedrich Hermann (1828-1907) was born in the German city of Frankfurt am Main. He was a student at the Leipzig Conservatory, studying composition with Mendelssohn and Niels Gade and violin with Ferdinand David. After graduating he obtained the position of principal violist of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and at the age of 19 started teaching at the Conservatory where he later became a professor. Besides his work with the Conservatory and the Orchestra, Hermann was a member of the Gewandhaus Quartet. In 1878, in order to devote himself to teaching, composing, and editing, he resigned all appointments except the Conservatory. His work as editor is well known and includes compositions by Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven as well as those by the famous violinists such as Kreutzer, Beriot and Rode.
In addition to his work as an editor, he composed a symphony, a quartet for wind instruments, and several other chamber music works, which clearly shows his affinity with the new emerging romantic virtuoso style that was part and parcel of 19th century string playing. Among his chamber works are several trios for three violins, a genre which is relatively small. His wonderful handling of the three voices in these works is clearly demonstrated by his ability to interweave three similar timbres. The Capriccio for Three Violins, Op. 5 was published in 1856. It opens with a short rhythmic introduction. Although the entire piece is marked Allegro molto, there are three sections. The middle section is less virtuosic and more lyrical, providing a fine contrast. This music slows down to a full stop on a fermata rest before the furious pace is renewed. Just before the thrilling coda. Hermann inserts a slower con espressione passage which heightens expectations for the close.