Emil von Reznicek, String Quartet No.1 in c minor

Emil von Reznicek

“Emil von Reznicek's String Quartet No.1 which dates from 1883 is a very lucid and well constructed work. The first movement, Allegro con fuoco, has two melodic subjects. The march-like first theme is heavily accented and strongly rhythmic, while the second is sweet and lyrical. The middle movement is in sections beginning Andante tranquillo, then più lento and finally Allegretto. Simply constructed but effective. The brilliant finale, Presto a la hongroise, is also in several sections. It begins playfully, is followed by a charming più moto ma gracioso section and then a short but piquant Presto."

Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players

Emil von Reznicek (1860-1945) was born in Vienna. He studied law and music simultaneously in Graz and pursued a career as a conductor at various opera theaters, including Graz and Berlin. Reznicek became known for parodying famous music by other composers. For example, his tone poem Schlemihl (a bungling loser) is a parody of Strauss' Ein Heldenleben. Today, Reznicek is remembered mainly for the overture to his opera Donna Diana. But the quality of his music was first rate. He and his music fell into neglect along with so many other fine composers from the Romantic era after the First World War and awaits rediscovery.

This Quartet is an impressive and very exciting work. It is the kind of work which will "bring the house down." Professionals looking for a show piece should consider it. And amateurs will get a lot of fun from it.

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