String Quartet No.4 in G Major, Op.18
Pierre Rode (1774-1830) was born in Bordeaux. At one time, he was considered the greatest violinist in Europe. After studying locally, he went to Paris where he became a student of the famous virtuoso Viotti. He held many important positions, including soloist to Napoleon and the Tsar of Russia. Along with the famous violinists Rodolphe Kreutzer and Pierre Baillot, he was an author of the influential Official Violin Method of the Paris Conservatory. Rode, who was fond of string quartets, performed them frequently. Some sources indicate that he may have written as many as fifteen, although most of these were so-called Quatours Brillants, primarily a vehicle for the first violin. However, his four numbered quartets are for standard string quartet with part-writing for all.
String Quartet No.4 in G Major, Op.18 dates from 1810. It is in three movements and begins with a lengthy, slow introduction Adagio. Unusual for the time, but not in French chamber works. The main section, Allegro moderato is a leisurely, genial affair. The middle movement, Siciliano, makes telling use of pizzicato passages which alternate with bowed sections. The finale, Allegretto, is pleasant, unassuming and melodious.
Rode clearly intended this quartet for home music making. The famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players, recalled how in his youth how much pleasure playing Rode's melodious works gave him. With its appealing melodies, this quartet plays easily and presents no technical difficulties. It is historically important because it provides a window into French music making at the time, but it is also a fine choice for amateurs and students looking for a performance work. Our new edition is based on the 1819 Gambaro Paris edition of the work.
Parts & Score: $31.95