String Sextet in C Major, Op.140
Louis Spohr's String Sextet in C Major, Op.140 dates from 1848, the dramatic year of European revolutions which came very close to overthrowing several monarchies. The Sextet is lyrical and exuberant and surprisingly youthful in spirit, considering that it is a late work. Spohr commented when he wrote it that his spirits were raised by the current events in Germany. A well-known supporter German unification, republicanism and democratic causes, he wrote upon the manuscript, “At the time of the glorious people’s revolution...& reawakening of Germany.” The famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann considered the Sextet one of Spohr's most magnificent works, and wrote in his Handbook that it was a work which every friend of chamber music should get to know. Though not the first string sextet---Boccherini's set of six from the 1770's and Pleyel's Sestetto Concertant also from the 18th century preceded it----Spohr's probably is the first such work of the 19th century, and certainly the first significant one. In the opening movement, Allegro moderato, the first viola is entrusted with the main theme. Later the first violin introduces the second subject. Both melodies are quite inspired qnd make an indelible impression. The first viola is the thematic leader for much of the movement. The second movement, Larghetto, has the dramatic expression of a poem. Next comes a Scherzo, elfin-like and wistful, it leads to an exciting Finale, Presto, where the Scherzo reappears several times before the Sextet closes prestissimo.---Taken from The Chamber Music Journal
Spohr was not only one of the leading violinists of the first half of the 19th century, he was also well-known quartet player, composer, conductor and director at various musical courts throughout Germany. During his lifetime and for a long time thereafter, Spohr was widely regarded as one of Europe's most important 19 century musical personalities.
Our new edition has corrected errors and unlike earlier ones, it has rehearsal numbers. This is a sextet certainly deserving to be added to chamber music players' libraries.