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All Listed Works Edition Silvertrust
Franz Krommer

Franz Krommer (1759-1831)

Nationality: Czech | Moravian
Born: November 27, 1759, Kamenice u Třebíče Died: January 8, 1831, Vienna (age 71)

String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 4, No. 2

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I. Allegro vivace
II. Andante
III. Allegro
Published: 1794 (age 34-35)
From Edition Silvertrust

Franz Krommer Krommer's String Quartet in E flat Major, Op.4 No.2 is the second of a set of three which were first published in the early 1790's, although judging from the fact that they have only three movements, were most likely composed sometime before this. The three movement style was a holdover from the Mannheim School which Haydn adopted and then used to create the so called Vienna Classical Style which typically had four movements. Krommer did not adopt this style until the late 1790's with the appearance of his Op.5 string quartets. The work opens with a lively Allegro vivace. The middle movement, an Andante, is a theme and set of variations, a technique that Krommer, like Haydn, often used for his slow movements. There is no minuet or scherzo. The finale is an energetic Allegro.

Franz Krommer (1759-1831) was born in town of Kamnitz then part of the Habsburg Austrian Empire (today Kamenice in the Czech Republic) It had a mixed population of Germans and Czechs and though baptized František Vincenc Kramář by the time he was 15, Krommer began using the Germanized version of his name for the rest of his life, the name by which he became known to the world. Krommer was one of the most successful composers in Vienna at the turn of the 18th Century. His reputation was attested to by the fact that his works were frequently republished throughout Germany, England, France, Italy, Scandinavia and even the United States. According to several contemporary sources he was regarded with Haydn as the leading composer of string quartets and as a serious rival of Beethoven.

Krommer was a violinist of considerable ability who came to Vienna around 1785. For the following 10 years he held appointments at various aristocratic courts in Hungary. He returned to Vienna in 1795 where he remained until his death, holding various positions including that of Court Composer (Hofmusiker) to the Emperor, Franz I, an enthusiastic quartet player. He was the last composer to hold this august title and one of his duties was accompanying the Emperor on his various campaigns so that he could relax in the evenings playing quartets. There are more than 300 compositions which were at one time or another published, much of which is chamber music. He wrote more than 70 string quartets, 35 quintets, perhaps as many as 15 string trios, but also several works for winds and strings. Of Krommer's string quartets, the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann, in his Handbook for String Quartet Players writes, “Krommer knew how to write for string instruments and as a result what he wrote sounds brilliant."

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