String Quartet in D Major, Op.18
There is very little information available about the Berlin composer Ludwig Hoffmann (1830-). Even his date of death is unknown. Despite the fact that he seems to have been known during his lifetime, at present, there is virtually nothing to be found in the standard reference books whether in English or German. What information we have been able to dig up comes from one article which appeared in the late 19th century German music dictionary Musikalisches-Conversations Lexicon. Here we learn Hoffmann was born in Berlin where he studied at the Prussian Academy of Arts with Carl Friedrich Rungenhagen. After graduating, from 1854 to 1868, he obtained conducting positions at city opera houses in Stettin, Bielefeld and Dresden. During this period besides conducting the operas of better known composers, he also performed his own opera Das Wirthaus am Kyffhäuser which enjoyed an effemeral success. While in Dresden, he is said to have composed a wind sextet which according to the Lexicon "made him famous." In 1868, Hoffmann returned to Berlin and worked as a teacher at various lesser known music institutes, but in 1871, he was elected to the somewhat prestigious post of vice chairman of the Berlin Musicians Society. The article makes no further reference to Hoffmann after 1875.
His String Quartet in D Major was composed during 1866-7, while he worked in Dresden, and is dedicated to Julius Rietz, successor to Mendelssohn as conductor of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, and composition teacher at the Leipzig Conservatory. Rietz evenually moved to Dresden after obtaining the lucrative post of Music Director to the Royal Court in Dresden and it was here that Hoffmann met him. In four movements, the quartet opens with a genial Allegro grazioso and is followed by a lovely, singing Larghetto cantabile. The third movement, marked Vivace, is characterized by its unusual rhythm and counterpoint. The finale, Allegro con giusto, is a jovial affair.
This is a fine work which should be of interest to both professionals and especially amateurs as it presents no technical difficulties