String Quartet No.1 in C Major, Op.1
“Hermann Suter’s String Quartet No.1 in C Major, his Op.1 was published in 1905 but dates from five years earlier. It is a sterling work distinguished by its impressive thematic material. The first movement, Allegro brioso is fresh and lively. The short second movement, Moderato con svogliatezza, etwas verdrossen, serves as a kind of scherzo. It is the most singular movement of the quartet by virtue of the etwas verdrossen instruction which creates a sullen mood, which is created not only through the use of harmony and melody but also by its rhythm. Next comes a warm and deeply felt Adagio which might be styled a romanza. The middle section contains an astringent fugal section. The finale, Allegro molto, is very effective by virtue of its rhythm and jovial themes. This quartet is not beyond the scope of experienced amateurs."—–Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.
Hermann Suter (1870-1926) was born in the Swiss town of Kaiserstuhl. He studied with Hans Huber at the Basle Conservatory and later with Carl Reinecke at the Leipzig Conservatory. He worked as a conductor and teacher at the Zurich Conservatory. Later, he became director of the Basle Conservatory. His works show the influence of Brahms, Richard Strauss and Gustav Mahler. Suter was not a prolific composer but the works that he produced were very well put together and first class. Mostly he composed works for voice, however, he did not ignore chamber music leaving three string quartets and this string sextet.
This is certainly an original sounding work which is sure to make a strong impression in the concert hall but should not be ignored, as Altmann writes, by experienced amateurs.