String Sextet in D Major, Op.64
For 2 Violins, 2 Violas, Cello and Bass
"Heinrich Molbe's big String Sextet in D Major, Op.64 dates from in 1897. It has all of the merits of his string quintet and can be warmly recommended, especially to amateur players. Once again, the composer shows that he has a real gift for melody. The first movement, Allegro con brio, is jovial and full of good spirits and opens with a melody the equal of some of Schubert's best. The other themes are equally pleasing. The second movement, Adagio non troppo ma molto espressivo, is a lovely character piece. It begins with the cello and bass giving forth a mighty tune in their lowest registers, which moves bravely forward to the syncopated accompaniment in the other voices. It has tinges of a Chopinesque funeral march. As it dies out, a lovely, more optimistic section follows. Next comes an energetic but muted Scherzo with trio. In the finale, Allegro molto vivace, the composer makes considerable use of pizzicato. The main theme, which is full of energy, has an aura of magnificence about it"---Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Chamber Music Handbook.
Heinrich Molbe (1835-1915) was the pseudonym of Heinrich von Bach, a prominent Viennese lawyer whose three brothers—–Alexander, Eduard and Otto—–were nonetheless all better known than him. He was born in the village of Unterwaltersdorf in lower Austria outside of Vienna. His father, an important jurist, sent him, as he had the other brothers, to the University of Vienna to study law. Alexander, the eldest (b. 1813) and most famous of the four, served as Imperial Chancellor to the Emperor Franz Joseph from 1848-1850. Eduard entered the imperial civil service and was a governor of several Habsburg provinces while Otto became a composer and eventually director of the Mozarteum in Salzburg. Heinrich, while at the University of Vienna, studied composition privately, as did his brother Otto, with Simon Sechter, the famous professor of composition and theory at the Vienna Conservatory. Heinrich also entered the imperial civil service and briefly served as the Governor of the Fiume and Trieste Province, then in Austrian possession. Though he could claim to be a professionally trained musician, he apparently felt that being known as a composer would be detrimental to his legal and imperial civil service careers and hence composed under a pseudonym. He was a fairly prolific composer, writing nearly 400 works, including some 200 art songs and 140 chamber works.
Here is a very attractive addition to the sextet literature and particularly valuable since it is for the rare combination of cello and bass giving the music added depth. Unavailable for almost a century, we are pleased to make this quintet available once again.