String Quartet No.7 in G Major
There is some confusion over the last name of Anton Tietz (1742-1810). The family name was originally Dietsch and both of his father’s siblings, an uncle and aunt with whom he was raised, had the name Dietsch. In various parts of Germany D and T were often interchangeable when appearing at the beginning of a word. He appears to have gone by Tietz until he emmigrated to St. Petersburg in 1771. Most of his published works which appeared after this time bear the name Titz and he became known by both Tietz and Titz. Trained as a violinist in Nuremberg, he moved to Vienna where thanks to his friend Gluck, one of Vienna’s leading opera composers, Tietz gained the patronage of the music lover Prince Lobkowitz. As a result of his appearances as a performer at Lobkowitz’s soirees, Tietz was invited to St Petersburg where he remained for the rest of his life. There, he played an important role in Russia’s musical life as a leading violin soloist. He was said to be a virtuoso by those who heard him play during his prime. He also worked as a composer and concert manager and was responsible for introducing the latest works of Mozart and Haydn, both of whom he knew personally, to Russian high society. Additionally, his own compositions were frequently performed not only in Petersburg but throughout Europe where he achieved a considerable reputation.
He is thought to have composed 12 string quartets. Six appeared in 1781 and were dedicated to Prince Dmitri Golitsyn. They are generally considered to be the first string quartets composed in Russia, albeit by a German. Then three more appeared in 1802 and were dedicated to Tsar Alexander I, and finally in 1808 a final three appeared and were dedicated to Alexei Teplov. It was about this time that the famous violin virtuoso and composer Ludwig Spohr concertized in St Petersburg. He wrote that while Tietz was no great violinist (perhaps not surprising since Tietz was over 60 at the time), he was certainly a composer of genius as his many works attested.
String Quartet No.7 in G Major is the first of the set of 3 which appeared in 1802 and is the most ambitious of the set. The writing is quite interesting as it combines concertante style with the more updated polyphonic approach of Haydn and Mozart. The music is clearly in the Vienna Classical Style, resembling that of Franz Krommer, the Wranitzky brothers and Haydn rather than that of Mozart. Each instrument is given generous solos, in this respect, the cello is especially well served. Even Mozart’s so-called cello quartets (K.575, 589 & 590) do not allow the cello to lead to such an extent. The work opens with a short and gentle Adagio introduction. It leads to a rousing Allegro which opens with a lengthy cello solo which briefly quotes Mozart’s G Major Violin Concerto, K.216. The music sails along effortlessly which rushing passages interspersed with more singing episodes. In the lovely second movement, Adagio, the style is more Haydnesque. Telling cello solos punctuate the proceedings at various intervals. The short Allegretto which comes next is a typical Haydnesque minuet. In the finely contrasting trio section, the cello presents the brief melody. The work concludes with a buoyant, dancing Rondo. First the violin and then the cello take turns presenting what is clearly folkloric material. Our new edition is based on the Paris Simrock edition of 1802.