Franz Krommer

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String Quintet No.15 in E flat Major, Op.70 for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Violoncello

String Quintet No.15 in E flat Major, Op.70 dates from 1817 and was published in that year by the firm of Johann Andre in Offenbach. Krommer gave the work the title "Grand" Quntet and it is, in fact, one of his most substantial works in this genre. For a start, it is in five movements, rather than the usual four. The opening Allegro, has a rather stately march-like aura and at times a Mozartean orchestral quality. The second movement, Menuetto allegretto, is dominated by its triplet rhythm, which is set off against a lovely lyrical melody. The melodic trio section has telling interplay between the upper three voices. Next comes a Haydnesque Adagio quasi andante, and though not so marked, has several variations on the main subject. Rather than concluding the work with a fourth movement, Krommer inserts a fetching Alla Polacca full of life and energy. While one might think he could not top such excitement in the finale, an Allegro, he does so. However, not all at once. The music gets off to a genial start which seems a let down after the Polacca, however, soon the pace quickens and the intensity rises to an almost orchestral level and the music plunges ahead full of forward drive.


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 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.


Our new edition is based on the 1817 Andre edition. We feel this makes a good concert piece and a work which amateurs will also enjoy.


Parts: $29.95


Parts & Score: $39.95




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