String Quartet in c minor, Op.16
"Scheinpflug's String Quartet in c minor appeared in 1912. Few Quartets are superior in emotional intensity and sense of climax. The opening movement, Allegro agitato, is classical in form. The entire movement literally bursts with passionate desire for life by one who is threatened by death. There is an internal struggle. At times there is a feeling of hope then feelings of hopelessness. At last the comforting voices of the Night bring respite. The development section begins with a funeral march and in the coda there is huge, but indecisive struggle between life and death. The second movement, subtitled Lithuanian Barcarolle combines an Adagio with a Scherzo. The rhythm is that of the barcarolle while the mood is filled with the melancholy spirit of that broad watery land with its lonely dunes and blue villages peopled with enigmatic inhabitants. The finale, Allegro energico, is dominated by its powerful rhythms. It literally bursts forth from the explosive opening chords, quickly turning into an inexorable Totentanz, a dance of death."---Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.
Paul Scheinpflug (1875-1937) was born in the town of Loschwitz not far from the German city of Dresden. He studied composition at the Dresden Conservatory with Felix Draeseke and thereafter pursued a career as a conductor, holding positions in Bremen, Königsberg and finally Dresden. He was not a prolific composer but his works were highly praised and respected, especially his chamber music. His style was that of the late romantic movement. In addition to this quartet, he also wrote a piano quartet and a suite for piano trio.
Even though our soundbites were recorded by amateurs and have a few blemishes, they clearly show how extraordinary this stunning work is. We feel it is a masterwork which will serve as an adornment to any professional group's repertoire. It cannot fail to bring the house down. And though it is not a work for beginners, it is by no means beyond experienced amateur players who will thrill to the excitement and passion this quartet generates.