Franz Hoffmeister

Franz Hoffmeister (1754-1812)

Nationality: German
Born: May 12, 1754, Rothenburg am Neckar Died: February 9, 1812, Vienna (age 57)

String Quartet No. 14 in B-flat major, Op. 14, No. 2

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
6:52 I. Allegro
5:29 II. Romance. Adagio
6:39 III. Allegretto
Duration: 19 minutes (approximately)
Published: c. 1791 (age 36-37)
Dedication: Joseph de Preuer Sr.
1 recording, 3 videos
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Aviv String Quartet
I. Allegro
Aviv String Quartet
II. Romance. Adagio
Aviv String Quartet
III. Allegretto
From Edition Silvertrust

Franz Anton HoffmeisterHoffmeister's Op.14 No.2 in B flat Major is the second of a set of three, which date from 1791. Prior to this time, he had composed 12 other quartets in two sets of six. The Op.14 show fine workmanship and that Hoffmeister had assimilated many of the advances Haydn and Mozart made. At a time when almost everyone else was still producing concertante quartets, Hoffmeister’s quartets, although only in 3 movements show a kinship in form to those of Haydn and Mozart’s late quartets. The melodies are fresh and attractive while the part-writing surprisingly good. The first movement, an Allegro in 6/8 time, starts off in genial fashion but soon racing passages, mainly in the violin come to the fore and add excitement. The middle movement, though titled, Adagio, is probably closer to an Andante based on its lovely main theme which gives the movement its subtitle, Romance. The finale, Allegro, is a real barn burner full of dynamic surprises a la Haydn's Surprise Symphony.

Today, the name of Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754-1812) lives on only because of his close friendship with Mozart, who named his K.499 D Major string quartet after him in recognition of all the money Hoffmeister had given him. Few people are also aware that he became a famous music publisher, his firm known to us today as Edition Peters. Hoffmeister arrived in Vienna at age 14 from western Germany where he had intended to study law. Like so many before and after him, he was lured away by the siren song of music. He decided on a career as a composer and, like most of his contemporaries, was a prolific one. We know from contemporary accounts that his music was held in high regard and those who have had the opportunity to play or hear it usually agree that there is much of value to be found therein. He is thought to have composed at least 34 and possibly as many as 48 string quartets.

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

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