String Quintet No.5 in A Major, Op.29 for 2 Violins, 2 Violas and Violoncello
"Wenzel Veit's String Quintet No.5 in A Major, Op.29, which dates from 1851 can be warmly recommended not only for concert but also especially to amateur players. Here is a work which will warm the blood of all true musicians. It is beautifully written, sounds good, and is grateful to play as it is well written for each instrument. It is entertaining in the very best sense of the word. The work opens with an appealing and attention getting Andante con moto introduction which leads to the main section Allegro that begins with a hunting fanfare and is followed by a doughty main subject. For contrast, there is a lovely, lyrical second subject. The second movement, Adagio, opens with the cello in the lead. The music is a cross between a romance and a funeral march. In the third movement, marked Allegro (Märchen--a fairytale), Veit shows himself to be a forerunner of Dvorak and other Czech composers by the use of a Dumka. There is a nicely contrasting Allegro molto trio section. The finale, Allegro molto, is a kind of whirling tarentella."---the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Chamber Music Handbook.
Wenzel Heinrich Veit (1804-1864) was born in Repnitz, at the time a German town in the Bohemian part of the Habsburg Empire. Until recently, he was ignored by the Czechs who have suddenly claimed him as one of theirs and have "baptized" him with the Czech version of his name Vaclav Jindrich Veit. Veit attended Charles University in Prague and studied law. He pursued a dual career of lawyer and judge as well as composer, mostly in Prague, although for a short time he held musical directorships in Aachen and Augsburg. Although he he wrote a symphony, most of his works are either for voice or chamber ensembles, including 4 string quartets and 5 string quintets which were highly praised by Robert Schumann. The reason Veit and his music were ignored by the Czechs was two fold. First, because he was an ethnic German. But Veit was not a German nationalist. To the contrary, he supported an independent Bohemia, took the trouble as an adult to master the Czech language and wrote many songs in Czech using Czech folk melody. The second reason his music was ignored was that it did not sound Slavic enough. But this ignores the time period in which he wrote which was before the Czech national awakening. The Wranitzkys, Krommer, Vanhal and many others all moved to Vienna and there is nothing particularly Slavic about their music either, but now they all have been repatriated as Czechs in good standing. They, however, were at least ethnic Czechs. But the truth with regard to Veit is that he was the most important Bohemian writer of chamber music before Dvorak. And, he did use Czech folk music in some of his works. What is unfair is that now, even English sources (such as Wikipedia) wrongly refer to him by the Czech version of his name. A name he never used and which does not appear either on his baptismal certificate or gravestone. But music surmounts petty nationalism and we can all enjoy his fine compositions.
Long out of print we are pleased to make this appealing work available once again and warmly recommend it to both professonals and amateurs.