String Quartet No.20 in a minor, Op.74 No.1
"The Opus 74 string quartets are among Spohr's best. They are fine examples of his musical personality but based on the principles set down by Mozart."---Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.
String Quartets fascinated and occupied Louis Spohr (1784-1859 also known as Ludwig) through out his life. He began composing them around 1806 at the age of 22 and continued right up until the end of his life. Op.74 No.1 is the first of a set of three string quartets which composed around 1825.
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 19th century musical personalities .
Altmann goes on to describe this quartet as follows:
The opening movement, Allegro vivace, begins in energetic fashion, its lyrical and lovely main theme has considerable swing to it. The minor is hardly present. A Larghetto con moto, which follows, is in the character of a song without words. The themes appear to be based on folk melody. Next comes a very rhythmic and powerful Scherzo. The tonal quality of trio section is particularly fine. In the finale, a Rondo, a dotted 16th--32nd note rhythm, of the kind of which Spohr was particularly fond, plays a prominent role in the expression of the various themes. Though the music has an French operatic tinge, it remains always tasteful."
Spohr wrote several string quartets, known as Quatour Brillants, which were nothing more vehicles for the first violin. This quartet is NOT such a work. We have reprinted the original edition but have added rehearsal numbers.