String Quartet No.21 in B flat Major, Op.74 No.2
"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.2 is the second 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 classically styled opening movement, Allegro vivace, has for its main subject a rather relaxed main theme which stands in sharp contrast to the more lyrical second melody. The second movement, a Larghetto, has the character of a song without words and is deeply felt. For a third movement, instead of the usual Scherzo, Spohr inserts an Allegretto with a march-like theme and a set of variations which in spirit and style find their origins in Beethoven and Mozart. The finale, also an Allegretto, has a some melancholy main theme but the contrasting second subject is lighter and happier.
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.