String Quintet in c minor
For 2 Violins, 2 Violas & Cello
Anselm Hüttenbrenner (1794-1868), after studying law at the University of Graz, Hüttenbrenner, who was already an accomplished pianist and composer, went to Vienna in 1815 for advanced studies with Antonio Salieri. It was there that he struck up a lifelong friendship with his fellow student Schubert, a friendship which was particularly close during the few short years that Hüttenbrenner remained in Vienna. While it cannot be claimed that Hüttenbrenner was exactly well-known during his lifetime, certainly he was not unknown. Today, his name only survives because of his connection with Schubert and Beethoven. But during his lifetime, Hüttenbrenner was respected both as a composer and pianist. He wrote a considerable amount of music including eight symphonies, a number of operas and over 200 songs. His chamber works consist of two string quartets, a string quintet and several sonatas.
Hüttenbrenner's chamber music undeniably bears a resemblance to that of Schubert. Is this because he merely copied the style of his friend? Actually, the answer is that each influenced the other. A ‘cross-pollination’ of ideas was taking place. The two were school fellows and close friends who spent hour upon hour with each other, talking and carousing, showing and performing their new works to each other. How could it be otherwise but that they influenced each other. We know that Hüttenbrenner gave Schubert the idea for Death and The Maiden, both the song and the string quartet. And there must have been other instances as well.
The Quintet has no opus number but most likely was composed a few years before 1820. The first movement, Andante con moto, has a diffident melody delivered in part by the first violin and in part by the cello. For much of the movement, these 2 voices are involved in a constant conversation, which because of the difference in pitch creates a continual sense of drama. This technique was also employed by Schubert. The delightful Allegro con spirito which follows is an early Viennese scherzo, very Schubertian. Hüttenbrenner uses two trios, each of them quite lyrical and providing fine contrast. An Andante comes next. The theme is mildly sad and reflective. Here again, we find a technique often employed by Schubert in his later works, the tremolo, which Hüttenbrenner uses to create drama. The opening theme to the finale, Allegretto moderato, with its dotted rhythm creates an exciting sense of forward motion. The second subject is no less impressive, bursting forth in highly dramatic fashion. This is an excellent work from the early romantic era. Very Viennese, one could even say that this is a quintet very much like what Schubert would have written had he chosen to write one during this period.
We have entirely reset the work from an early edition, correcting mistakes and adding rehearsal numbers. This is a work which not only will interest amateurs but also deserves concert performance.
Parts & Score: $36.95