Moritz Kässmayer

Folk Song No.17
Hungarian Folk Song No.2


Folk Song No.18
Hungarian Folk Song No.1

Four Hungarian Folk Songs for String Quartet, Op.27 (Volume 5)

Moritz Kässmayer (1831-1884) was born in Vienna and spent his entire life there. He studied at the Vienna Conservatory after which he served as a violinist in the Vienna Philharmonic and later as Director of Ballet Music for the Austrian Imperial Court Opera. He mostly composed chamber music, the most famous of which are his Humorous and Contrapuntal Volkslieder or Folk Songs for String Quartet, which appeared in 13 separate volumes, each containing four folk songs from different nations or parts of Austria. He also wrote five serious string quartets and a string quintet for 2 violas. The Volkslieder were composed between 1853 and 1880  and range from Op.14 to Op.41.  They were not all published until after the composer’s death in 1885, the first appearing in 1873.


We do not know the names of the four Hungarian folk songs in Volume 5. For some reason, Kässmayer did not list them as he did in all of the other volumes. Perhaps he only knew the melodies which could be heard in most any of the cafes of 19th century Vienna. There are 3 quick folk songs and one very emotional and sad folk song, No.17. It features, perhaps parodies, the traditional off-beat rhythm so typical of sad Hungarian folk songs.


Playing Kässmayer's Humorous and Contrapuntal Folksongs reminds us to laugh. When is the last time you heard an audience laugh at a “humorous” finale to a Haydn string quartet? The folksongs are German, Bohemian, Styrian, Hungarian, Norwegian, Austrian and Viennese. These are all fun to play and very finely written. Kässmayer was awarded the Imperial Austrian Medal for Art and Culture which clearly reflects how highly respected he and his music were.


Of course, we offer all 13 volumes separately and at a lower price than you can purchase them elsewhere. Even so, if you were to purchase all 13 from us separately the total would be $168. By purchasing the entire collection in one volume, now available for the first time, you will save 40%.


(A) Volume 5---Four Hungarian Folk Songs $12.95
(B) The Entire Collection of 52 National Folk Songs $99.95


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