String Quartet No.2 in g minor, Op.14
“Volkmann’s String Quartet No.2, Op.14 in g minor is actually thought to be his first, written a few months before No.1 but published after it. It was dedicated to the Hellmesberger Quartet of Vienna, perhaps at the time, the most famous in Europe. They quickly made the work well-known throughout Central Europe and a reputation for its composer. From the opening measures of the Allegro con spirito the listener is “taken by the throat.” The drive and dramatic thrust of the thematic material never lets up from start to finish in this extraordinary movement. A charming Andante, based on the German folksong, Kommt a Vogerl geflogen, follows. It is, without so being marked, a set of six variations. A superb Scherzo, Allegro moto, comes next. There is a short slower section, marked meno, which appears twice, the last time just before the end where it is truncated without warning by a tempo con fuoco. Really quite outstanding in everyway. The Andantino-Allegro energico-Presto is a fairly large movement and actually gives the impression of being two, if not three movements. The Andantino is by way of introduction and begins with a leisurely viola solo. The Allegro energico lives up to is name and is forceful and full of passion. There is no real development but a very starkly contrasting interlude tonally and thematically. It is a kind intermezzo before the storm. The Presto, used as a coda, hurtles the Quartet to its thrilling finish.” —–The Chamber Music Journal
Friedrich Robert Volkmann (1815-1883), though born and schooled in Germany, spent his entire working life living in Austria-Hungary. After a brief stint in Prague, Volkmann obtained a position in Pest in 1841 and made friends among the large German community there. Though he went to Vienna in 1854, he missed Pest and moved back in 1858. He remained there for the rest of his life. Beethoven was to serve as his model, although Mendelssohn and Schumann also influenced him. In his day, Volkmann and his music were highly regarded.
This fine work has been out of print for more than a century. It belongs in the repertoire and will also bring great enjoyment to amateurs.
Parts & Score: $31.95