String Quartet No.1 in F Major, Op.42
August Klughardt (1847-1902) was born in the German town of Köthen in Saxon-Anhalt. After studying music locally, Klughardt began to earn his living by conducting. He served in several locales, including Weimar where he worked from 1869 to 1873. There, he met Franz Liszt, which was very important for his creative development. While influenced by Wagner and Liszt, Klughardt did not by any means entirely adopt the ideology of their New German School, refusing to write tone poems and instead concentrating on symphonies and chamber music. The influence of Robert Schumann, and to a lesser extent Brahms, certainly is equally important. It was his failure to whole-heartedly adopt Lisztian principals which led to his being labeled as a conservative composer.
Klughardt’s String Quartet No.1 in F Major was finished in 1883 and premiered by the Joachim String Quartet with great acclaim. Critics hailed it as fresh, original and well put together. Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players has this to say about it.
“Today the music of Klughardt is rarely performed, yet this cosmopolitan composer wrote with taste and fine technique and this is true of his string quartets. The first, his Op.42 in F Major, begins with an Allegro, the main theme to which is quite simple. This is followed a sharper second subject which conveys a sense of restless destiny. He uses a fugue to develop these themes. A somber religious melody begins the second movement, Adagio. The second subject is even more deeply religious sounding. An agitated middle section has an operatic feel to it. A straight forward Scherzo and contrasting trio come next. The finale, Allegro moderato, begins in playful fashion. Its treatment is canonic. A second theme has an elegiac quality whilst a third is dominated by its rhythm.”
This fine work certainly deserves concert performance but will give great pleasure to amateurs as well. Long out of print we are pleased to make it available once again, having corrected mistakes which occurred in the original edition.