Soundbites courtesy of
String Quartet No.5 in g minor, Op.52
“Straesser's Fifth String Quartet is truly an inspired work, suggesting, indeed, a musical New World. The first movement, Moderato passionato requires careful listening because of the plasticity of the thematic material. However, not only is the material impressive, it is masterfully executed. The second movement is a fleet, tonally beautiful Intermezzo scherzando in which the minor and the major alternate. The Poco andante which follows takes the listener into a realm of otherworldly beauty with its deeply felt melodies. The finale, Molto passionato, is a kind of highly creative fantasy."—–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.
This is a first rate early modern work, which shows how to advance the boundaries of tonality without resorting to atonality. Not to be missed by either amateurs or professionals, who would do well to bring this fine work to the concert stage.