Ewald Straesser

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Steve Jones

String Quartet No.4 in e minor, Op.42

“In Straesser's music there is the combination of deep feeling with a sunny, even temperament. Admirable is the originality of his ideas and the clear and faultless form of his compositions. His Fourth String Quartet, Op.42, dating from 1920, is remarkably concise. It departs from convention insofar as to have an Andante serioso for its final movement--very beautiful this, with a melodious fugue in the middle section. The restless first movement, Allegro non troppo, takes its character from the passionate main theme. The second movement, Allegretto tranquillo, is a dainty and most effective intermezzo. It makes a perfect encore piece. The third movement, Allegro con fuoco, is a type of very lively scherzo, with an expressive and slow middle part. While this quartet is certainly suitable for the concert hall, I cannot, however, also recommend it strongly enough to experienced amateurs."—–Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.


Ewald Straesser (also Sträßer 1867-1933) was born in the Rhenish town of Burscheid not far from Cologne. After studying music locally, he entered the Cologne Conservatory where he studied with Franz Wüllner. After graduating, Straesser held a teaching position there and then later became a professor at the Stuttgart Conservatory. Between 1910-1920, Straesser's symphonies enjoyed great popularity and were performed by the leading conductors of the day such as Artur Nikisch,  Richard Strauss, Willem Mengelberg, Felix Weingartner, and Wilhelm Furtwängler. His chamber music was also frequently performed by the then active leading ensembles.


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