Italian Serenade for String Quartet in G Major
“This appealing work belonging to the most enthralling works that we have in the whole of the field of the serenade will soon be a repertoire piece. This one movement work is of such an enchanting tonal charm, of such a captivating, highly original color that it will certainly inspire the greatest enthusiasm when it is performed.” ---Composer and critic Max Reger, upon hearing Hugo Wolf’s Italian Serenade.
Hugo Wolf (1860-1903) was born in what was then the Austrian town of Windischgraz. He showed an early predilection for music and studied both piano and violin as a boy. He attended the Vienna Conservatory but was expelled. He then continued to study composition on his own, which was of seminal importance to his development as an experimental composer, especially in his instrumental works. Temperamentally unable to hold a steady position, Wolf worked for most of the rest of his life as a critic and music teacher in Vienna. As a composer, Wolf made his name as a composer of songs (lieder) and is generally regarded as the greatest master, after Schubert, of this art form.
Wolf was under the spell of Wagner and became a representative of the so-called New German School which adhered to the use of the chromaticism and other innovations that were to be found in Wagner's music. He became a fierce opponent of Brahms and the old guard.
The Serenade, composed in 1887, clearly conjures up a Mediterranean atmosphere. It is a free form rondo with a main theme which in some ways resembles Tchaikovsky Capriccio Italian, although it is unlikely that Wolf would ever have heard that piece. Although Wolf intended the movement as the first of three or four, he was never able to realize this goal, despite several attempts and the Serenade has remained in one movement, usually played as an encore or where a shorter work is required.
Parts & Score: $25.95