Ferdinand Ries

Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838)

Nationality: German
Baptized: November 28, 1784, Bonn Died: January 13, 1838, Frankfurt (age 53)

Flute Quartet in d minor, No. 1, WoO 35

(for flute, violin, viola and cello)
8:23 I. Allegro
5:11 II. Adagio con moto
6:07 III. Vivace
8:01 IV. Allegro molto
Duration: 27 minutes (approximately)
Published: 1826 (age 41-42)
1 recording, 4 videos
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I. Allegro
II. Adagio con moto
III. Vivace
IV. Allegro molto
From Edition Silvertrust

Ferdinand Ries Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) during his lifetime and for much of the 19 century was remembered as a fine composer and virtuoso pianist. He showed musical promise from an early age, studying both violin and piano with his father, and the cello with Bernhard Romberg. In 1801, he went to Vienna to study piano and composition with Beethoven and stayed with him for nearly 5 years. Thereafter, Ries concertized throughout Europe for a number of years before settling in London and then finally retiring in Frankfurt. He wrote a considerable amount of music including several piano concertos and a large quantity of chamber music which was many years often performed and well thought of. Ries composed string quartets throughout his entire life, at least 26. He wrote many more string quartets than he did piano sonatas, piano trios, piano quartets or other works with piano, surprising for a virtuoso pianist and one is forced to conclude that he felt the string quartet to be a far more important medium than those with piano or at the very least he harbored real ambition to make an important contribution to the genre as had his teacher Beethoven. And like Beethoven, he took his time, trying other chamber music genres before turning to the string quartet.

Ries composed six quartets for flute, violin, viola and cello. The first three were completed in 1814 and published twelve years later as his Opus 145 in 1826. Perhaps it was their publication which led to him write an additional three, of which the Quartet in d minor is the first, and the fourth overall. The opening movement, Allegro, starts with a short ominous lead in the strings before the flute introduces the main theme over a pulsing accompaniment. While the flute is clearly primus inter pares, Ries does not ignore the other voices each of which is given an interesting part. The main theme of the second movement, Adagio con moto, is song-like. The use of pizzicato in the cello is quite effective as are the sudden tempo changes which briefly quicken the mood. A playful and lively, Scherzo vivace comes next. It is reminiscent of some of Beethoven’s early scherzi, for example, those in his Op.9 string trios. The pounding rhythm and quick tempo of the trio section is not only surprising but very effective. The finale, Allegro molto, begins with a series of heavy double stops in the strings before the flute comes bouncing forward with a buoyant and dance-like melody.

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

Related Composers

1800 Johann Albrechtsberger (1736-1809) Bernhard Romberg (1767-1841) Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) Johann Hummel (1778-1837) Ferdinand Ries (1784-1838) Carl Maria von Weber (1786-1826) Franz Schubert (1797-1828) Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Robert Schumann (1810-1856)
Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)
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Johann Albrechtsberger (1736-1809)
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Bernhard Romberg (1767-1841)
Nationality: German
Born: November 13, 1767 Died: August 13, 1841 (age 73)