Heinrich Anton Hoffmann, String Quartet No.2 in B flat Major, Op.3 No.2

Heinrich Anton Hoffmann (1770-1842) was born in the German city of Mainz. As his father was a court councillor to the Elector, he was well educated attending university and taking degrees in law and philosophy, all the while studying violin on which he became a virtuoso. He pursued a career as a concertmaster and Kapellmeister or Music Director of several important theaters, mostly in Frankfurt, where he got to know Mozart, who so admired his playing that the two of them often played chamber music together while Mozart was in Frankfurt. Hoffmann wrote some six string quartets which were clearly influenced by the Vienna Classical style of Haydn and Mozart.

String Quartet No.2 in B flat Major is the second of a set of three which came out in 1794, which were much like the works of the Wranitzky brothers and Franz Krommer. The work opens with an ominous Largo introduction leading to a very lively. The second movement, a typical south German Menuetto allegro sostenuto, somewhat slower than Haydn-type minuets. This is followed by an Andante with a set of four variations in which each instrument is given a chance. The finale is buoyant Rondo allegro scherzando.

Though once popular, the quartet has long been unavailable. We have reprinted the original edition of 1795 and though easily readable, it is not like a modern edition and our price reflects this fact. Here is a fresh work from the Vienna Classical era that makes a pleasant change from Haydn.

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