(August) Carl [Karl]  Ditters (von Dittersdorf)

Carl Ditters (1739-1799)

Nationality: Austrian
Born: November 2, 1739, Vienna
Died: October 24, 1799, Neuhof, Bohemia (age 59)

String Quartet No. 5 in E-flat major, k195

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I. Allegro
II. Menuetto non troppo presto
III. Finale. Allegro
Composed: (?) 1789 (age 49-50)
Published: 1789 (age 49-50)
Duration: 15 minutes (approximately)
2 recordings, 4 videos
Gewandhaus Quartet
I. Allegro
Gewandhaus Quartet
II. Menuetto non troppo presto
Gewandhaus Quartet
III. Finale. Allegro
Kubin Quartet Ostrava

From Silvertrust:

Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf Not many people could say that regularly sat down and played string quartets with Mozart and Haydn as Karl Ditters von Dittersdorf (1739-1799) could. He knew both men personally and the three of them sometimes performed string quartets in Vienna along with Vanhal. Dittersdorf played first violin, Haydn second violin, Mozart viola and Vanhal played cello.

Dittersdorf was born in Vienna and was recognized as a child prodigy on the violin and one of the great violin virtuosos of the 18th century. The first part of his life was spent as a touring virtuoso and especially in Italy he enjoyed many triumphs. The second half of his life was spent as a composer and music director at various aristocratic courts. His output voluminous and he is generally regarded after Mozart and Haydn as one of the most important representatives of the Vienna Classical era. Originally, his music showed the influence of the Italian composers but as time went by his familiarity with the compositions of Mozart and Haydn greatly changed his compositional style.

Dittersdorf's Fifth String Quartet is one of a set of six dating from his middle period by which time he had turned away from the Italian school of composition and has adopted the Mannheim style which both Mozart and Haydn did during the 1770's and which eventually developed in the style we now call Vienna Classic. Typical of Mannheim works the quartets all have three movements. Whereas his First and Third Quartets are similiar to Haydn's, this work definitely feels Mozartean. The opening movement, Allegro, immediately reminds one of Mozart's style about the time he was writing The Abduction from the Seraglio. The second movement, Menuetto, non troppo presto, is another typical Viennese minuet. The trio section, marked Alternativo, is faster than the minuet. The finale, Allegro, is quite lively. Quite interestingly, Dittersdorf inserts a Turkish section, reminiscent of Mozart's Fifth Violin Concerto.

This fine classical quartet could also serve as an alternative concert program when something other than Haydn or Mozart is wanted.

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