of Steve Jones
String Quartet No.2 in d minor, Op.21
“Karl Nawratil's String Quartet No.2 in d minor, Op.21 is a very solid and excellent work.” ---the famous chamber music critic and scholar Wilhelm Atlmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players
Karl Nawratil (1836-1914) was born in Vienna where he lived his entire life. He is sometimes confused with the Czech composer known as Karel Navratil (1867-1936) who is often given credit for having composed the works of his close Viennese namesake. Karl Nawratil studied law and music in Vienna, the latter with the famous Beethoven scholar Gustav Nottebohm. He pursued a dual career as a civil servant in the Imperial Austrian Service and also as a composer and teacher at the University of Vienna. Among his students were Eduard Schutt, Walter Rabl and Anton Webern. He was a close friend of Brahms who entrusted him with the manuscript of his German Requiem.
The String Quartet No.2 in D Major was published by Rahter in 1898 but was composed a decade earlier. It is in four movements. The first movement, Allegro molto moderato, has for its main theme a rather unusual subject by virtue of the rhythmic figure which dominates it. The second movement, Tempo di Menuetto, has a touch of the exotic orient with a charming, contrasting trio section. A warm and deeply felt Andante molto moderato comes next. The work is topped off by an exciting finale, Allegro vivace.
This fine work is sure to be well received in the concert hall and will also be enjoyed by amateur chamber music players. Out of print for nearly a century, we are pleased to make it available once again.