String Quartet in c minor, Op.10
Salomon Jadassohn (1831-1902) was born to a Jewish family living in Breslau, the capital of the Prussian province of Silesia. First educated locally, Jadassohn enrolled at the Leipzig Conservatory in 1848, just a few years after it had been founded by Mendelssohn. There he studied composition with Moritz Hauptmann, Ernst Richter and Julius Rietz as well as piano with Ignaz Moscheles. At the same time, he studied privately with Franz Liszt in Weimar. He spent much of his career teaching piano and composition at the Leipzig Conservatory. Over the years, he became a renown pedagogue, and Grieg, Busoni, Delius, Karg-Elert, Reznicek and Weingartner were among his many students. Jadassohn wrote over 140 works in virtually every genre, including symphonies, concertos, lieder, opera and chamber music, the latter being among his finest compositions. Considered a master of counterpoint and harmony, he was also a gifted melodist, following in the tradition of Mendelssohn. But one also hears the influence of Wagner and Liszt, whose music deeply impressed him.
Jadassohn and his music were not better known primarily for two reasons: The first being Carl Reinecke and the second being the rising tide of anti-semitism in late 19th century Wilhemine Germany. Reinecke was almost Jadassohn's exact contemporary and somewhat of a super-star. Not only was he a world famous piano virtuoso but also an important professor at the Leipzig Conservatory and later its director. If this were not enough, he served as the conductor of the renowned Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra. Under these circumstances, it was hard for a colleague to get the public's attention.
Jadassohnís String Quartet, his only work for this ensemble, dates from 1858 from his early period. Like most graduates of the Leipzig Conservatory from this era, the composerís work shows the influence of Mendelssohn, whose reputation then was at its very highest point. Though this is the case, the quartet is no pale imitation of that Master but rather has many fresh and original ideas. The opening movement, Allegro molto ed appassionato, is at once both dramatic and lyrical. The second movement, Adagio is based on a simple folk melody but given a lovely treatment. It is in the very effective Un poco Allegretto, the third movement which serves as a kind of scherzo, that the spirit of Mendelssohn hovers. A rousing finale, Allegro ma non troppo, brings the well-done mid-romantic era work to a close.
We have taken the first and only edition and have added rehearsal numbers. Here is a lovely work from the mid-romantic era which is sure to please either at home or in concert.