Thursday, July 22, 2010

Louis Spohr's String Quartets

Louis Spohr is yet another neglected composer from late Classical era. He was a violinist and have a serious output set of Violin Concertos. Clarinet lovers will also reminded to his contribution for the instrument, in a fine Clarinet Concerto. Spohr wrote 36 string quartets. They are in Mannheim styles and as early as published in 1806/7 in a set of two string quartets Op.4

List of Louis Spohr's string quartets:
Two String Quartets Op.4 (1807)
String Quartet No.1 in C Major
String Quartet No.2 in G minor

Op.11 (1806)
String Quartet No.3 in D minor 'Quatuor Brillant'

String Quartet  No.4 in E flat Major
 String Quartet No.5 in D Major

Op.27 (1812)
 String Quartet  No.6 in G minor 'Grand Quartet'

Op.29 (1813)
 String Quartet No.7 in  E flat Major
 String Quartet No.8 in C Major
 String Quartet No.9 in F minor

 String Quartet No.10 - missing information

Op.43 (1818)
 String Quartet  No. 11 in E Major 'Quartet Brillant'

 String Quartet No.12 in C Major
String Quartet  No.13 in E minor
 String Quartet No.14 in F minor

 String Quartet  No.15 in E flat Major
 String Quartet  No.16 in A minor
 String Quartet No.17 in G Major

Op.61 (1825)
 String Quartet No.18 in B minor 'Quartet Brilliant'

 String Quartet No.19 in A Major 'Quartet Brilliant'

 String Quartet  No.20 in A minor
 String Quartet No.21 in B flat Major
 String Quartet  No.22 in D minor

 String Quartet No.23
 String Quartet No.24 in G Major
 String Quartet No.25 in A minor

 String Quartet No.26

 String Quartet No.27 in D minor
 String Quartet No.28 in A Major
 String Quartet No.29 in B minor

Op. 93
 String Quartet No.30 in A Major 'Quartet Brilliant'

 String Quartet No.31 in A major

Op.141 (February 1849)
String Quartet No.32 in C major

Op.152 (June-July 1855)
 String Quartet No.34 in E flat Major
 String Quartet No.35 in E flat Major

 String Quartet No.36 in G minor

But his string quartets, so far has only one set of recording. The New Budapest String Quartet recorded 12 CD, published by Naxos :

Vol. 1 (Nos. 27, 28 - New Budapest Quartet) 8.223251 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 2 (Nos. 29, 30 - New Budapest Quartet ) 8.223252 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 3 (Nos. 1, 2, 5 - New Budapest Quartet ) 8.223253 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 4 (Nos. 3, 4, 6 - New Budapest Quartet ) 8.223254 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 5 (Nos. 7, 8 - New Budapest Quartet ) 8.223255 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 6 (Nos. 15, 16 - New Budapest Quartet ) 8.223256 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 7 (Nos. 11, 12 - New Budapest Quartet ) 8.223257 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 8 (Nos. 13, 14 - New Budapest Quartet ) 8.223258 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 9 (Nos. 20, 21 - New Budapest Quartet ) 8.223259 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 10 (Nos. 24, 26 - Moscow Philharmonic Concertino String Quartet) 8.225306 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 11 (Nos. 32, 34 - Moscow Philharmonic Concertino String Quartet ) 8.225307 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 12 (Nos. 33, 35, Potpourri #1 - Moscow Dima Quartet) 8.225316 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 13 (Nos 9, 17 - Moscow Philharmonic Concertino String Quartet ) 8.225315 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 14 (Nos. 31, 36 - Moscow Philharmonic Concertino String Quartet ) 8.225982 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 15 (Nos. 19, 22  - Moscow Philharmonic Concertino & New Budapest) 8.225981 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 16 (Nos. 23, 28 - Moscow Philharmonic Concertino String Quartet ) 8.225983 - buy @ AMAZON
Vol. 17 (Nos.10, 18 - Moscow Philharmonic Concertino String Quartet ) 8.225352 - buy @ AMAZON

Read CD excerpts:
The influence both of the Viennese classics and of virtuoso violin music is clearly evident in Spohr's own works for string quartet. The virtuoso tradition is emphasized in two potpourris and two sets of variations with string trio accompaniment, composed during the years 1804 to 1808, and in his eight virtuoso quartets, written between 1806 and 1835. His first quatuor brilliant, opus 11, which he described in a letter to his publisher, Kühnel, as "of the Rode type" was followed by five more which were published with the same title. These are in three movements, without a minuet or scherzo, after the pattern of Rode's prototypes. A seventh, opus 30, was similarly designated on the autograph score despite its four movements, and opus 27 too, though it was published as Grand quatuor, is in the same tradition, being referred to in Spohr's autobiography as a Solo-Quartett.
Spohr has a distringuised melody line that runs and repeated throughout the cycle. If you are familiar with his Violin and Clarinet Concertos , you will find similarity there. If you like music from classical era, this set of string quartets is a valuable addition.

Louis Spohr String Quartet No.15 in Eb - I. Allegro vivace 

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