Wenzel Veit

Wenzel Veit (1806-1864)

Nationality: Czech | Bohemian | German
Born: January 19, 1806, Řepnice Died: February 16, 1864, Litoměřice (age 58)

String Quartet No. 2 in E major, Op. 5

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
9:38 I. Introduzione. Sostenuto - Allegro vivace
6:34 II. Adagio cantabile quasi Andante
5:51 III. Scherzo. Presto - Alternativo
8:42 IV. Rondo. Allegro non tanto
Duration: 31 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1835 (age 28-29)
Published: 1837 (age 30-31)
Dedication: F. G. Pixis
1 recording, 4 videos
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Kertész Quartet
I. Introduzione. Sostenuto - Allegro vivace
Kertész Quartet
II. Adagio cantabile quasi Andante
Kertész Quartet
III. Scherzo. Presto - Alternativo
Kertész Quartet
IV. Rondo. Allegro non tanto
From Edition Silvertrust

Wenzel Heinrich Veit "Wenzel Veit's String Quartet No.2 in E Major dates from 1835 and was praised by Robert Schumann for its style and workmanship. The work opens with somber introduction which leads to a more upbeat Allegro vivace. The second movement, Adagio cantabile quasi Andante, has the quality of a leisurely, slow paced intermezzo with lovely long-lined melodies. Next comes a hard driving downward plunging Scherzo. Presto with contrasting Alternativo. The finale, Rondo, Allegro non tanto, has for its main theme, a lovely and ingratiating melody which Veit develops quite attractively."

—The noted chamber music critic and connoisseur Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.

Wenzel Heinrich Veit (1804-1864) was born in Repnitz, at the time a German town in the Bohemian part of the Habsburg Empire. Until recently, he was ignored by the Czechs who have suddenly claimed him as one of theirs and have "baptized" him with the Czech version of his name Vaclav Jindrich Veit. Veit attended Charles University in Prague and studied law. He pursued a dual career of lawyer and judge as well as composer, mostly in Prague, although for a short time he held musical directorships in Aachen and Augsburg. Although he he wrote a symphony, most of his works are either for voice or chamber ensembles, including 4 string quartets and 5 string quintets which were highly praised by Robert Schumann.

The reason Veit and his music were ignored by the Czechs was two fold. First, because he was an ethnic German. But Veit was not a German nationalist. To the contrary, he supported an independent Bohemia, took the trouble as an adult to master the Czech language and wrote many songs in Czech using Czech folk melody. The second reason his music was ignored was that it did not sound Slavic enough. But this ignores the time period in which he wrote which was before the Czech national awakening. The Wranitzkys, Krommer, Vanhal and many others all moved to Vienna and there is nothing particularly Slavic about their music either, but now they all have been repatriated as Czechs in good standing. They, however, were at least ethnic Czechs. But the truth with regard to Veit is that he was the most important Bohemian writer of chamber music before Dvořák. And, he did use Czech folk music in some of his works. What is unfair is that now, even English sources (such as Wikipedia) wrongly refer to him by the Czech version of his name. A name he never used and which does not appear either on his baptismal certificate or gravestone. But music surmounts petty nationalism and we can all enjoy his fine compositions.

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

Related Composers

1800 1900 Josef Mysliveček (1737-1781) Johann Baptist Vaňhal (1739-1813) Paul Wranitzky (1756-1808) Franz Krommer (1759-1831) Anton Wranitzky (1761-1820) Wenzel Veit (1806-1864) Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) Robert Schumann (1810-1856) Bedřich Smetana (1824-1884) Antonín Dvořák (1841-1904)