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The String Quartet

wed 1 jan 2020 11:00 

String Quartets by Brahms

The tone for String Quartet in B flat major, Op 67 is set by the fact that its first part (Vivace) is not only written in a rural like B flat major, but also in a 6/8 time signature. We can’t deny that this piece is quite similar to Mozart’s String Quartet in B flat major, more commonly known as ‘The Hunt’. Brahms was a big admirer of Mozart’s music, he owned several of his manuscripts. Any similarities between the two Quartets seem to be purely coincidental, however. The only real connection between the two works is that both composers had a knack for leaving out unnecessary notes. Brahms wrote to his friend, surgeon Theodor Billroth, to whom he dedicated Opus 51: ‘It is not difficult to compose [a quartet]; but it is incredibly difficult to let the superfluous notes drop under the table’.

The Quartettino in A minor from Julius Röntgen in 1922, was clearly written in honour of Brahms.

Johannes Brahms – String Quartet in C minor, opus 51:1

3. Allegretto molto moderato e comodo, 4. Allegro

Performed by: Orpheus Quartett

CD: Turtle Records

Johannes Brahms – String Quartet in B flat major, opus 67

1. Vivace, 2. Andante, 3. Agitato, 4. Poco Allegretto con Variazioni – Doppio movimento

Performed by: Orpheus Quartett

CD: Turtle Records

Julius Röntgen – Quartettino in A minor (1922)

Performed by: Matangi Quartet

CD: Challenge Classics

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