Franz Xaver Richter

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String Quartet in A Major, Op.5 No.3

Franz Xaver Richter (1709-1789) was born in the Moravian town of Holleschau. He studied violin and composition and enjoyed a long career as a conductor and music director. He worked closely with Johann Stamitz in Mannheim and became one of the best known of the so-called Mannheim composers. The new style of the works of Stamitz, Richter and a few other composers resident in Mannheim led to a change of musical style throughout Europe and ultimately influenced Haydn and Mozart who from it were to create the Vienna Classical Style.


Op.5 No.3 is the third of a set of six string quartets, which were composed in the late 1760's. The Op.5 quartets, and the first three in particular, are important in the history of chamber music and of the string quartet in particular. By the mid 18th century, players of the lower voices no longer were content to simply play the passive part of harmonic filler, essentially the successor role of the figured bass. Hence composers sought to create some kind of melodic interest in the lower parts.


The first movement of Op.5 No.3, Allegretto, is particularly notable for the dialogue found in the development section which is one of the finest early examples of true string quartet style. The second movement, Andante, combines lyricism with virtuosic string technique. The finale, Tempo di Menuetto, is characteristic of works from this period which frequently ended with such a movement. The rough melody and rhythm provide a fine contrast with the lighter and melancholic trio section.


While works from this period, today, are never considered great masterpieces, nonetheless, the best of them, such as this one, not only show from what foundation Haydn and Mozart were to build, and hence are of historical importance, but also are well-written and enjoyable to perform.


(A) String Quartet Op.5 No.3---Parts


(B) String Quartet Op.5 No.3---Parts & Score


(C) Special Offer Op.5 Nos.1-3---Parts


(C) Special Offer Op.5 Nos.1-3---Parts & Scores to Nos. 2 & 3





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