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String Quartet No.9 in G minor D.173

Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)

Chiaroscuro Quartet (photo credit: Eva Vermandel)

Chiaroscuro Quartet (photo credit: Eva Vermandel)

Composer
Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)
Composition Year
1815
Work Movements
1. Allegro con brio
2. Andantino
3. Menuetto, Allegro vivace
4. Allegro
Artists
Chiaroscuro Quartet (Alina Ibragimova, Pablo Hernán Benedí [violins], Emilie Hörnlund [viola], Claire Thirion [cello])

Programme Note Writer:
© David Winter

 

Schubert was eight years old when his father started to give him violin lessons. Not long afterwards the Schubert family formed its own string quartet; Franz with his father and two brothers. The family played a variety of works from the classical period. They also combined playing concerts with social occasions. Thus began Schubert’s  introduction not only  to the great works of classical music but also into the convivial mixture of music making and partying  which he would maintain throughout his life.

As a boy, Schubert had impressed Salieri; one of the best known composers in Vienna and friend and rival of Mozart’s. Salieri recommended Schubert for the Court Chapel Choir and for a scholarship at the Imperial and Royal Seminary. There naturally enough, Schubert played in the school orchestra. He started in the second violins but soon became the orchestra’s leader. His two favourite orchestral works were Mozart’s 40th symphony and Beethoven’s Second.

In 1815 he composed over 160 songs, one and a half symphonies, nine religious orchestral works including the Mass in G major, four short operas, nine piano pieces and the string quartet in G minor. It has been calculated that this level of output over the year involved composing 420 bars per week every week of which about half were orchestral music. The G minor string quartet consists of about 800 of those bars

It is well known that Mozart and Haydn used each other’s quartets as models for their own work and Beethoven used both Haydn’s and Mozart’s quartets as reference points for his early quartets. It is not surprising that Schubert did the same. The G minor quartet bears strong similarities in a few places to parts of Beethoven’s Op.18/2 and 18/4 although it takes a sharp ear to spot them.

The more obvious reference in this G minor quartet is to Schubert’s favourite G minor symphony; Mozart’s 40th. The opening theme of the first movement bears a strong resemblance to the opening theme of the last movement of the Mozart symphony.  After the opening theme has been repeated there is some obvious transitional material before the appearance of the charming and contrasting second subject. The whole movement has great drive and a wonderful variety of material.

The Andantino is based on a very simple three note phrase. The second note always repeats the first. The third note, which bears the emphasis, is, initially, a third or an octave higher. The three note phrase is played twice. The relationship between the repetition and the original statement varies throughout the movement. Out of this slender material Schubert weaves a delightful fabric.

The minuet has an upright, angular tune while the trio adds charm with the first and second violins answering each other with repeated phrases. The quartet concludes with a cheerful rondo with sonata form features; each episode providing opportunities for both development and counterpoint.

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String Quartet No.9 in G minor D.173

Composer: Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)
Performance date: Friday 8th July 2016
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Franz Schubert (b. 1797 - d. 1828)
Work Title String Quartet No.9 in G minor D.173
Composition Year 1815
Work Movements 1. Allegro con brio
2. Andantino
3. Menuetto, Allegro vivace
4. Allegro
Artist(s) Chiaroscuro Quartet (Alina Ibragimova, Pablo Hernán Benedí [violins], Emilie Hörnlund [viola], Claire Thirion [cello])
Performance Date Friday 8th July 2016
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Crespo Series
Duration 00:24:21
Recording Engineer Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category String Quartet
Instrumentation 2vn, va, vc
Programme Note Writer © David Winter

 

Schubert was eight years old when his father started to give him violin lessons. Not long afterwards the Schubert family formed its own string quartet; Franz with his father and two brothers. The family played a variety of works from the classical period. They also combined playing concerts with social occasions. Thus began Schubert’s  introduction not only  to the great works of classical music but also into the convivial mixture of music making and partying  which he would maintain throughout his life.

As a boy, Schubert had impressed Salieri; one of the best known composers in Vienna and friend and rival of Mozart’s. Salieri recommended Schubert for the Court Chapel Choir and for a scholarship at the Imperial and Royal Seminary. There naturally enough, Schubert played in the school orchestra. He started in the second violins but soon became the orchestra’s leader. His two favourite orchestral works were Mozart’s 40th symphony and Beethoven’s Second.

In 1815 he composed over 160 songs, one and a half symphonies, nine religious orchestral works including the Mass in G major, four short operas, nine piano pieces and the string quartet in G minor. It has been calculated that this level of output over the year involved composing 420 bars per week every week of which about half were orchestral music. The G minor string quartet consists of about 800 of those bars

It is well known that Mozart and Haydn used each other’s quartets as models for their own work and Beethoven used both Haydn’s and Mozart’s quartets as reference points for his early quartets. It is not surprising that Schubert did the same. The G minor quartet bears strong similarities in a few places to parts of Beethoven’s Op.18/2 and 18/4 although it takes a sharp ear to spot them.

The more obvious reference in this G minor quartet is to Schubert’s favourite G minor symphony; Mozart’s 40th. The opening theme of the first movement bears a strong resemblance to the opening theme of the last movement of the Mozart symphony.  After the opening theme has been repeated there is some obvious transitional material before the appearance of the charming and contrasting second subject. The whole movement has great drive and a wonderful variety of material.

The Andantino is based on a very simple three note phrase. The second note always repeats the first. The third note, which bears the emphasis, is, initially, a third or an octave higher. The three note phrase is played twice. The relationship between the repetition and the original statement varies throughout the movement. Out of this slender material Schubert weaves a delightful fabric.

The minuet has an upright, angular tune while the trio adds charm with the first and second violins answering each other with repeated phrases. The quartet concludes with a cheerful rondo with sonata form features; each episode providing opportunities for both development and counterpoint.