Sigismund Neukomm

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String Quintet "L'amante abandonnée"

For 2 Violins, 2 Violas & Cello

Sigismund Neukomm (1778-1858) was born in Salzburg. He studied composition with Michael Haydn. There were further studies in Vienna with Joseph Haydn. He held a number of positions including music director at St. Petersburg's German theatre. He traveled widely throughout Europe and even visited Brazil, South America, where he popularized the works of Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Mozart. Neukomm's compositional output is large.  He wrote several operas, masses, oratorios, songs, works for piano solo as well as chamber music works. During his lifetime, he and his music were widely respected and he was regarded as being in the front rank of those composers from the Classical era after Haydn and Mozart. Despite the fame he achieved during the first half of the 19th century, his name and works fell into obscurity because he outlived the classical era by 50 years. This is a fate which might well have happened to Mozart had he lived so long. Certainly had Neukomm died before 1815, his reputation would have remained intact.


Neukomm wrote six string quintets—three for 2 violins, viola and 2 cellos and three for 2 violins, viola and 2 violas. The latter are remarkable in that he attempted to write program music long before this practice became commonplace. These three works were all composed in Paris between 1812-1813, only three years after Joseph Haydn’s death. L’amante abandonnée (The Abandoned Lover) is in three movements. Each represents a different state—Being in love, Unfaithfulness and finally of Despair at having been unfaithful. The first movement, entitled Amour, tonally describes all of the highs and lows of being in love—flirting, desire, arousal and the threat of disappointment. The music is graceful and elegant. The second movement, entitled Infidélité, is a theme and set of variations based on the French folksong, I can hear the flute of my fickle shepherd. Neukomm uses some very creative harmonies here. In the finale, Désepoir, the desperation of one whose lover has been unfaithful is well characterized by the allegro agitato.


Only printed once, we have taken the original edition, cleaned it, corrected mistakes and have added rehearsal numbers. This is a work which should interest both amateurs and professionals.

Parts: $29.95



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