String Quartet No.2 in F Major, Op.24 No.2
Carl Loewe, (1796-1869) was born in the German town of Löbejün near the city of Halle. He studied composition and voice with Daniel Türk and Johann Reichardt. He enjoyed a career as a baritone soloist, composer and as long-time music director of the German city of Stettin (since 1945 Sczezin in Poland). Much admired by Wagner and Mendelssohn, he was renowned for his over 400 art songs and ballads and was often called the 'Schubert of the North'. It is for his vocal works that he is remembered, but he did write instrumental music including symphonies, concertos, a piano trio praised by Schumann and four string quartets.
String Quartet No.2 in F Major is the second of a set of three quartets which are relatively early works dating from 1821. The Quartet opens with a searching theme first given out by the cello and then taken up by the others. Loewe then uses an interesting rhythmic figure as a foil against the long-lined melody. He repeats this technique as the cello is given a repeated rhythmic figure over a vocal melody in the other voices. The effect is quite striking. The second movement, Andante, has for its main subject, a lovely semplice theme, presented in a more straight forward manner. Next comes a Menuetto and trio. This minuet, with its Lāndler-like melody, is truly one which could be danced to. The same could be said for the charming trio. The finale, Allegro non tanto, again presents the melodies of the German countryside. The main theme is an “echt Teutsch”—a real German dance.
Again we have a very interesting work, especially in its very original use of rhythmic figures and its combination of thematic material, with quite good part-writing.