String Quartet No.4 in G Major, Op.74
Ignaz Lachner (1807-1895) was the second of the three famous Lachner brothers. (there were some 16 children in all) His older brother Franz was the best known, having heavily traded on his youthful friendship with Franz Schubert, certainly more than Ignaz who also knew Schubert. Ignaz was taught (as were the others) organ, piano and violin. Upon the latter instrument, he was somewhat of a prodigy, but despite this, his father insisted he become a teacher. After his fatherís death, he studied violin with Bernhard Molique, a violin virtuoso and then joined his brother Franz in Vienna where he too befriended and was influenced by Schubert, not to mention Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Though primarily known as a conductor, Lachner composed a considerable amount of music, much of it chamber music, including seven string quartets. His place in music is as a "Classicist-Romantic". His quartets achieved considerable popularity in their time by virtue of their fetching melodies and effective harmonies.
Despite the fact that String Quartet No.4 was written well into the Romantic period, it is music which still is very close to Mozart, Beethoven and Schubert in spirit. The air of the Vienna Classical period permeates the work, but is filtered through and does show the evidence of the developments of early Romanticism. An example of this is the second theme given to the viola in the opening movement, Allegro moderato, which, full of Italian bel canto melody, reminds one of Schubert and Vienna. The second movement, Andante, with its beautiful melodies, could well serve as a Nocturne for a summer evening's entertainment in the park. The exciting Scherzo, which follows, provides a stunning contrast. The energetic finale, Allegro, is full of rhythmic treats. This quartet, as well as all of Lachner's chamber music, could best be summed up by what he said at age 87, the year before he died, " To the very end I have been true to the classic composers of Vienna I admired so much." Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players, remarks:
"This is a fine-sounding work, which takes the Vienna classics as its model. The part writing is good for all of the instruments and fun to play."
We have reprinted the first and only edition, with corrections, which has been out of print for more then a century. While it ought to be heard in concert, it will surely give great pleasure to amateur quartet groups.