Four Austrian Folk Songs for String Quartet, Op.31 (Volume 8)
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.
The Austrian folk songs in Volume 8 are Wenn du willst a Bassgeig'n sei / If you want to be a bass fiddle, Kein kreutzer Geld / No coins, no money, Nicht als Müh und Plag / Nothing but toil and trouble and Kinder, jetzt halt's eng z'samm / Now Children, stand close together. The words to If you want to be a bass fiddle are quite humorous: "If you want to be a bass fiddle, then fiddle for a dancing bear. But the bear won't dance. He doesn't want to hear you."
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. But even if you were to purchase all 13 from us separately, you can save 40% by purchasing the entire collection in one volume, and nearly 25% by purchasing the entire Austrian collection.
(A) Volume 8---Four Austrian Folk Songs $12.95 (B) The Entire Austrian Collection of 20 Folk Songs $47.95 (C) The Entire Collection of 52 National Folk Songs $99.95