String Quartet No.2 in G Major
Hugo Kauder (1888-1972) was one of several Austro-Hungarian composers born in the last period of the Romantic movement, who along with such men as Karl Weigl, Erich Korngold, Leo Weiner and Zoltan Kodaly, rejected the atonalism of the Second Vienna School. Kauder was born in the Moravian town of Tobitschau and studied violin and composition in Vienna where he pursued a career as a composer and performer in various string quartets. He emigrated to the United States after the Nazi's annexed Austria. His compositions are tonal and varied in approach and musical thought.
String Quartet No.2 dates from the early 1920's at a time when those composers, who rejected the mantra of atonalism were searching for new paths, believing as they did along with those who accepted atonalism, that the big scale compositions of Bruckner and Mahler had exhausted all there was to say in this vein. Kauder, during this period, chose simple and concise style of writing. The work was intended as a wedding present for his wife and is filled with lovely melodies and grace. The optimistic main theme to the opening movement, Rühig fließend (calm and flowing), is primarily in the key of G Major and presented in turns by the violin and viola. The short second movement, Rasch und flüchtig (quick and fleet) has a scherzo-like quality. The main subject given out by the violin is full of forward motion. Its treatment is very original with the cello and viola being given important roles. The finale, Sehr gemächlig--Lebhaft (Very easy, moderate---lively) is a theme and set of variations. It begins with an upbeat melody somewhat related to the first theme of the preceding movement. The theme is jovial and celebratory while the many variations provide excellent contrast and original treatment of the theme.
This is a very fine work, deserving of concert performance and the attention of amateurs.