Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda
String Quartet No.3 in G Major, Op.90
Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda (1801-66 Jan Vaclav Kalivoda in the Czech form) is a name virtually unknown today, except perhaps to violinists. However, he was a well-known and highly respected composer, conductor and soloist during his lifetime. Schumann, among others, held a high opinion of his compositions and he is sometimes spoken of as the link between Beethoven and Schumann. He was born in Prague and studied at the conservatory there. After some years of touring as a concert violinist, he chose permanent employment as conductor of the Donaueschingen Orchestra at the court of Prince Karl Egon II. Thereafter, Kalliwoda devoted what free time he had to composition as a means of supplementing his income and was, for the last 30 years of his life, considered a “house composer” by the publisher C.F. Peters who published all but 60 of his nearly 250 works.
In 1831, Peters commissioned three string quartets, specifying that they “...were to be in the beautiful style of Mozart.” Kalliwoda did not get around to working on this project until 1835 when he delivered the first two of the set, his Opp.61 and 62. He then went on to other things and did not return to compose the third of the third commissioned work until 1838. The work opens with a dazzling Moderato in which the first violin is given several brilliant passages, not of the sort Mozart would have included in his quartets. A breath taking Scherzo serves as the second movement. The extraordinary excitement is only relieved in the trio section. The third movement Adagio is completely different in character, beginning in cannoic fashion. Here the cello serves as an interesting foil in the development of the thematic material. The finale, Allegro grazioso, while highly exciting, cannot be said to be particularly graceful. The captivating movement is noteworthy for its use of harmonics and folk melody
Kalliwoda did not try to imitate Mozart but he certainly produced beautiful quartets. We have reprinted the Plattner Edition.