Fantasie for String Quartet in C Major
Kurpiński's Fantasie for String Quartet was composed in 1825. The fantasie format had been popularized by several composers from this era, such as Carl Maria von Weber, Andreas Romberg and Mozart among others. It is in four main sections. It begins with an Adagio notable for its several contrasting episodes. Next comes a fugue, then a Moderato and finally a Presto. The Fantasie not only is an appealing work in its own right, but is historically important as Kurpiński was generally regarded as one of the most important composers, if not the most important, before the advent of Chopin. He is said to have been instrumental in helping to create the Polish national style of music.
Karol Kurpiński (1785-1857) was born in the Polish town of Włoszakowice. His first music lessons, which were on violin and organ, were from his father who was an organist. Recognized as an organ prodigy, he obtained a post as church organist at the age of 12. After working in Lvov and environs, he moved to Warsaw where he studied with Josef Elsner, after which he obtained a position as a conductor at one of Warsaw's most important theaters. Later he served as director of the Warsaw Opera. He pursued a career as a conductor, composer and teacher. Not surprisingly, most of his works were operas although he did compose two interesting trios--one for clarinet, violin and piano, the other for horn, bassoon and viola in addition to this work.
We were able to obtain a photocopy sent to us by Polish friends in Warsaw of the original manuscript which resides in the Library of the Warsaw Music Society (Biblioteka Warszawskiego Towarzystwa Muzycznego). Our edition is based on this manuscript. The soundbite presents about a third of the Fantasie. This is an appealing work, sure to please an audience and presenting no technical difficulties.