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Emanuel Aloys Förster

Emanuel Aloys Förster (1748-1823)

Nationality: Austrian | Bohemian
Born: January 26, 1748, Niederstaina Died: November 12, 1823, Vienna (age 75)

String Quintet in E-flat major, Op. 26

(for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello)
I. Allegro vivace
II. Andante
III. Menuetto. Allegretto
IV. Presto
Published: c. 1802-1804 (age 53-56)
From Edition Silvertrust

Emanuel Aloys Förster "I came across Emanuel Aloys Förster’s three string quintets in the 1928 Memorial Edition of the Survey of Austrian Composers, Volume 67 where they were reprinted. They were originally published in 1802 in Vienna and are closer to concertante rather than polyphonic style. But while the first violin is given, as was typical for this time, much of the thematic material, all of the instruments are given solos. These quintets can be especially recommended to amateur players who will be sure to enjoy them. The opening Allegro vivace of Opus 26 is full of exciting forward motion and a give and take between all of the voices and especially the first violin and cello. The main theme of the following Andante, though simple in form is a lovely folk melody. And though not so marked is followed by a set of variations. A typical Menuetto, allegretto is characterized by rising and falling scale passages. The trio section provides fine contrast The rousing finale, Presto, has the quality of a quick racing ride."

—The famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Chamber Music Handbook.

Emanuel Aloys Förster (1748-1823) was born in Niedersteine in the province of Silesia which at the time was part of the Austrian empire. Little is known of Förster’s musical training other than the fact that he was proficient on the organ, piano, violin, bass and oboe and that he began composing at an early age. From the several hundred works he composed, it appears that in his early works, he came under the influence of C.P.E. Bach. His later works show the influence of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Sometime around 1779, he arrived in Vienna where he remained for the rest of his life working as a teacher of piano and composition. He was also a frequent performer in various Viennese ensembles. He was on friendly terms with Mozart, Haydn and Beethoven among others, From the various concert program posters which survive from that era, we know that his string quartets, of which he wrote nearly 50, were often performed on programs with those of his more famous friends. He wrote four works for string quintet, three actual quintets and a sonata fantasie. The Op.26 Quintet in E flat Major is the last of the three and was composed sometime during the 1790’s and published just after 1800.

When asked why he never wrote a string quintet, Haydn replied that no one ever asked him for one. This Förster quintet bears many similarities to the work of Haydn, though it is certainly not imitative and is fresh and original sounding. Chamber music players looking for a work from the late Viennese Classical Period would do well to make this quintet's acquaintance.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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