Josef Beneš

Josef Beneš (1795-1873)

Nationality: Moravian
Born: January 11, 1795, Battelau Died: February 11, 1873 (age 78)

String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 30

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I. Allegro moderato
II. Scherzo. Allegro vivo - Trio
III. Poco adagio
IV. Finale. Allegro
Published: 1871, Vienna. Haslinger (age 75-76)
Dedication: Franz Meixner
From Edition Silvertrust

Josef Beneš Josef Beneš (1795-1873), known his lifetime by the German form of his name, Benesch, was born in the Moravian town of Batelov, then part of the Habsburg Empire and now in the Czech Republic. He began to study the violin at an early age and was quickly recognized as a child prodigy. After moving to Vienna, he became one of the city's leading violinists and chamber musicians, enjoying a career as a soloist and eventually succeeding Ignaz Schuppanzigh as K.u.K. court violinist and first violin of his string quartet. Beneš also served as a music director both in Laibach (todays Lubjana) and Vienna. He not only composed several works for his own instrument but also some chamber music.

His String Quartet No.2 was published in 1871 but most scholars believe it was composed during the late Biedermeier era, perhaps around 1840. In four movements, the opening Allegro moderato is warm and sunny, typical of the romantic style of the late Biedermeier. The Allegro vivo scherzo which follows is much in the same mood, pleasant and attractive. The third movement, Poco adagio, is darker and more serious. The finale, Allegro, is genial and upbeat.

This is an attractive work, not at all hard to play, and important because it is a typical example of the chamber music of those Biedermeier composers who were producing true chamber music rather than vehicles merely to show off technique.

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