String Quartet No.6 in c minor, Op.3 No.6
William Shield (1748-1829) was born in the English town of Swalwell near Newcastle upon Tyne. He was trained locally as a violinist and eventually moved to London where he became a highly successful composer for the British musical theater and also a prominent performer. He was a friend of Haydn's and the two often played together. He obtained the position of Master of the King's Music and in 1823 helped to found the Royal Academy of Music.
Shield wrote a set of six string quartets, which were given the opus number of 3. They were published in 1782. String Quartet No.6 is unusual on a number of counts. First, it was rare for a British work from the classical period to be composed in the minor. The fiery first movement, Allegro, with its pounding pedal notes and jagged cross rhythms would have almost certainly astonished his contemporaries. Equally remarkable is the extended slow movement, Adagio, with its written out cadenzas in the first violin part. The finale, Allegretto, with its 3/8 minuet rhythm veers unexpectedly between c minor and C Major.
This is an historically important work from the early British classical era which can stand on its own and be performed in lieu of a Haydn or early Mozart. Long out of print, we have made a new edition based on the original 1782 editon by Napier.
Parts & Score: $25.95