String Quintet in c minor, Op.28
For 2 Violins, 2 Violas & Cello
“Franz Ries’ String Quintet in c minor appeared in 1878. In the first movement, Allegro poco agitato, the excellent and somewhat stormy main theme is immediately introduced by the cello. The music has an elegiac quality, a little reminiscent of Beethoven’s Coriolanus Overature. It is cleverly written and quite beautiful. Next comes a Mendelssohnian intermezzo, Vivace. There is a tender second theme which provides fine contrast and a livelier middle section. The third movement, Andante, is a set of finely put together variations based on funereal theme. These variations provide a wonderful rhythmic contrast to each other and bring to mind those in Schubert’s d minor quartet (Death & the Maiden). The exciting finale, Allegro assai, is stormy and passionate. This a work which, even today, can do well in the concert hall and which will be especially welcomed as the composer quite obviously has a superb knowledge how to write for strings.”---the famous scholar and critic Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for Chamber Music Players.
Franz Ries (1846-1932) was born in Berlin where his father, a leading violinist in that city, was his first teacher. He subsequently studied at the Paris Conservatory with Vieuxtemps and Massart. After graduating, he enjoyed a career as a soloist until nerve damage to his hand forced him to abandon it. Subsequently, he worked as a composer and music publisher.
We have reprinted the 1878 Kistner edition which has been out print for the better part of a century and warmly recommend this fine work to amateurs and professionals alike.