String Quartet No.1 in E flat Major, Op.1 No.1
Andreas Romberg (1767-1821) was born in the German town of Vechta and studied violin and composition with his father. He became one of the leading virtuosos of his time and with his cousin Bernhard Romberg, a cellist, toured throughout Europe. He eventually took a position at the Bonn Court Orchestra where he met Beethoven. In 1815 he succeeded Louis Spohr as court music director to Duke August in Gotha
His Opus 1 string quartets published in 1799 were composed between 1794 and 1796 but they were not actually his first. He had already composed some string quartets, but they were not published until after his death. Romberg, who was also a friend of Haydn’s, well knew that his quartets would be compared to those of both Haydn and Mozart. A review published in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, the most important music journal of the time, clearly indicated that he had made the grade. The reviewer wrote:
“Not only experts but also a large number of educated amateurs have been spoiled so much by Haydn's and Mozart's quartets that almost nothing more in this genre of music which is not by one of these masters will please them. Given the fact that, especially as concerns the latter, since in the form of a public edition, their admirers have been forced to make eternal repetitions, which in the end will have to make even the most zealous among them sick and tired of them. It is thus a true joy that we can recommend the opus 1 by A. Romberg, which, in every respect, can be heard with pleasure even among the more outstanding ones by Haydn and Mozart.”
The Quartet is in four movements. The opening Allegro has a relaxed, genial subject for its main theme. It is introduced by the first violin and taken further by the cello, after which a quick bridge passage leads to further development. A Haydnesque Menuetto, allegretto comes next. The lovely third movement, Andante sostenuto, also calls to mind Haydn, who, it should be noted lavishly praised Romberg’s Opus 1 quartets. Of particular interest is that Romberg inserts an lively allegro into the middle part of the movement. The finale, Non troppo allegro, has a very catchy main theme which is very effectively passed from voice to voice.
We are pleased to reintroduce this work with a new edition with rehearsal numbers is based on the original 1799 Breitkopf & Härtel original edition. Here is a good work for those looking for a viable alternative to Haydn and Mozart which can serve both in the concert hall and at home.
Parts & Score: $31.95