Heinrich von Herzogenberg
String Quartet No.2 in g minor, Op.42 No.1
"In 1884, Herzogenberg composed the three quartets which make up his Opus 42 and dedicated them to his friend Johannes Brahms. The first of the three, Op.42 No.1, is characterized by its refinement and excellent elaboration. It has so many original ideas that anyone who is not prejudiced must acknowledge this fact. The first movement, Allegro energico, does not reveal its great beauty immediately, but soon the poetic and lovely second theme takes one breath away. In the second movement, Andantino, Herzogenberg shows that he is a master of the Theme and variation format. Superb contrasts only a few measures apart leave a lasting impression. The passionate Beethovenian Scherzo Allegro molto is truly magnificent and is topped off by a mellow trio section. The finale, Allegro, opens with a march-like theme, a lovely second melody provides excellent contrast. In the coda, we find an extraordinarily powerful stretto which brings the music to a feverish pitch.
So wrote the famous chamber music scholar and critic Wilhelm Altmann in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.
The Austrian composer Heinrich von Herzogenberg (1843-1900) was greatly influenced by Brahms and while one can easily hear this influence what is striking is the amount of original and fresh thoughts there are, notwithstanding the influence of Brahms. His chamber music is unquestionably first rate and some of it made Brahms envious.
As Altmann noted, this is a work of the first order. It truly belongs in the repertoire. Professional groups would do well to present it and amateurs will derive great pleasure putting it into shape. Our edition is based the original and only published edition which appeared in 1884. We have added rehearsal letters and corrected errors which appeared in the original.