String Quartet No.2 in G Major, Op.8
“The Swiss composer, Werner Wehrli (1892-1944) studied both music and natural sciences in Munich and later in Berlin. While in Berlin, his String Quartet No.2 in G, Op.8 won the Frankfurt Mozart Foundation’s first prize beating out the works of several better-known composers including Hindemith. Poco Adagio is the misleading tempo to the first movement which in actuality is at times fast, at times moderate but not particularly slow. The tonalities show the influence of Richard Strauss. The music alternates between emotionally charged episodes and nearly total calm. The next movement, Allegro vivo, begins slowly but picks up speed. It is a dance-like serenade. The third movement, Un poco animato, allegro moderato, is, from the standpoint of tempo, quite varied. Occasionally very lyrical, the writing is primarily in a neo-classical idiom. The finale, Vivacissimo brings back the themes from earlier movements. The integration of these ideas is excellent. This is an effective work."---The Chamber Music Journal
Werner Wehrli (1892-1944) was born in the Swiss town of Aarau. His main music studies were in Basel with the Hans Huber and Hermann Suter. He pursued a career as a teacher mostly in his home town. His marriage to a singer influenced his compositions which were mainly for voice in one form or another. However, he did write a fair amount of chamber music, including three string quartets, an interesting trio for violin, horn and piano as well as some instrumental sonatas. He was considered one of Switzerland's leading composers between the two world wars.
This is an original and interesting work, dating from 1914, which is suitable for both professionals and amateurs and is a worthwhile additional to the post-romantic tradition with its neo-romantic and neo-classical writing and because it was considered by the Swiss Academy as one of the earliest examples of the newly emerging Swiss national musical style. That it is quite well-written for the instruments is no accident as Wehrli was a violinist and a long-time member of a performing Swiss string quartet.