Franz Krommer

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Clarinet Quartet No.4 in D Major, Op.82

"The literature of wind instruments, especially that for the clarinet, has been unquestionably enriched by Krommer's works, and they rival those of Mozart and Weber for the same combinations.”—The Chamber Music Journal


Franz Krommer (1759-1831) was one of the most successful composers in Vienna at the turn of the 18th Century. His reputation was attested to by the fact that his works were frequently republished throughout Germany, England, France, Italy, Scandinavia and even the United States. According to several contemporary sources he was regarded with Haydn as the leading composer of string quartets and as a serious rival of Beethoven. Krommer was a violinist of considerable ability who came to Vienna around 1785. For the following 10 years he held appointments at various aristocratic courts in Hungary. He returned to Vienna in 1795 where he remained until his death, holding various positions including that of Court Composer (Hofmusiker) to the Emperor, Franz I, an enthusiastic quartet player. He was the last composer to hold this august title and one of his duties was accompanying the Emperor on his various campaigns so that he could relax in the evenings playing quartets. There are more than 300 compositions which were at one time or another published, much of which is chamber music. He wrote more than 70 string quartets, 35 quintets, perhaps as many as 15 string trios, but also several works for winds and strings.


"Clarinet Quartet No.4, Op.82 in D Major for an A clarinet was published in 1816. The captivating melody of the opening bars to the first movement, Allegro moderato, clearly give proof of Krommer’s gift for melody. The first movement is more or less twice as big as the others but it is full of catchy tunes and well-written for all. This rousing opening movement leads to an Adagio. Here Krommer seems to have intended this to be a solo movement for the clarinet. A Minuetto, Allegretto follows. Both themes can be characterized as jumpy and bouncy while the trio presents a fine contrast with the clarinet’s melody over a pizzicato accompaniment of the cello and the soft harmonic support of the violin and viola. The two themes of the finale Rondo, are both quite attractive.”—–Larius Ussi writing in The Chamber Music Journal


Here is a work which should interest both professionals and amateurs alike.


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