Franz Anton Hoffmeister
String Quartet No.15 in d minor, Op.14 No.3
Hoffmeister's Op.14 No.3 in d minor is the last of a set of three, which date from 1791. Prior to this time, he had composed 12 other quartets in two sets of six. The Op.14 show fine workmanship and that Hoffmeister had assimilated many of the advances Haydn and Mozart made. At a time when almost everyone else was still producing concertante quartets, although only in three movements, Hoffmeister’s quartets show a kinship in form to those of Haydn and Mozart’s late quartets. The melodies are fresh and attractive while the part-writing surprisingly good. No.3 is the only quartet of the set which is in four instead of three movements. The pattern follows the standard set by Haydn. The two outer movements, Vivace and Presto are lively and Haydnesque. A lovely Adagio cantabile comes second and a Minuetto takes the usual third position.
Today, the name of Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754-1812) lives on only because of his close friendship with Mozart, who named his K.499 D Major string quartet after him in recognition of all the money Hoffmeister had given him. Few people are also aware that he became a famous music publisher, his firm known to us today as Edition Peters. Hoffmeister arrived in Vienna at age 14 from western Germany where he had intended to study law. Like so many before and after him, he was lured away by the siren song of music. He decided on a career as a composer and, like most of his contemporaries, was a prolific one. We know from contemporary accounts that his music was held in high regard and those who have had the opportunity to play or hear it usually agree that there is much of value to be found therein. He is thought to have composed at least 34 and possibly as many as 48 string quartets.
In making our edition, we have had the opportunity to examine the first edition which Hoffmeister published himself. And while there have been other modern editions available of this quartet, we have paid particular attention to page turns making performance easy and are offering the work at a price which takes the average musician's pocketbook into account.
Score & Parts: $31.95