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Franz Krommer

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String Quartet in B flat Major, Op.10 No.2--New Edition

"Franz Krommer's String Quartet in B flat Major, Op.10 No.2 is the second of a set of three composed in 1796 and published in 1797 by the German publisher Andre. In four movements, the main theme to the opening Allegro in 6/8 begins in with the first violin presenting what is almost a downward scale. Krommer develops it quite ingeniously in such a way that one would never have suspected such a simple beginning could lead to what follows. An Adagio, though not so marked, is actually a theme with several fine variations. Next comes a Haydnesque Minuetto allegretto, chirpy and concise. The finale, Allegro, begins rather like the opening movement, but this time the downward theme is lengthier and flowing. The music moves forward effortless with several charming episodes. Here is another good program substitute choice for Haydn or Mozart, which can also be warmly recommended to amateur groups."---The Chamber Music Journal

 

Franz Krommer (1759-1831) was born in town of Kamnitz then part of the Habsburg Austrian Empire (today Kamenice in the Czech Republic) It had a mixed population of Germans and Czechs and though baptized František Vincenc Kramář by the time he was 15, Krommer began using the Germanized version of his name for the rest of his life, the name by which he beame known to the world. Krommer was 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. Of the string quartets, the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann, in his Handbook for String Quartet Players writes, “Krommer knew how to write for string instruments and as a result what he wrote sounds brilliant.” Among his dozens of quartets, Altmann singles out Krommer’s Op.24 as particularly fine and effective. He considered them on a par with those of Haydn and noted that each of the instruments is given grateful parts and solos, and violinists in particular can always learn something from playing the works of Krommer.

 

It's a shame that fresh-sounding works like this are never heard in concert where they are sure to please audiences. And amateurs will wonder why they haven't had a chance to play such pleasant music from the classical era before now. Our new edition is based on the 1797 Andre.

 

Parts: $24.95

 

              

 

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