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Sunday, January 10, 2021

Franz Krommer - String Quartets, Op. 7 (Authentic Quartet)


Composer: Franz Krommer
  • (01) String Quartet in C major, Op. 7 No. 1
  • (05) String Quartet in E minor, Op. 7 No. 2
  • (09) String Quartet in A major, Op. 7 No. 3

Authentic Quartet
Zsolt Kalló, violin
Balázs Bozzai, violin
Gábor Rác, viola
Csilla Vályi, cello

Date: 2009
Label: Hungaroton



Though a Czech, Franz Krommer, born František Kramář, spent most of his life in Vienna where he established a towering international reputation as a composer. He wrote string quartets throughout his long life and the total of 76 listed by Karel Padrta in his recent thematic catalogue of the composer's works is virtually identical to Haydn's. Krommer was born when Mozart was three, though he outlived him by several decades; but as his op.7 quartets are (for him) relatively early works - his op.1 quartets were published four years earlier in 1793 - it comes as no surprise to find them reminiscent of his now much more famous contemporary's. Indeed, Krommer is said to have taught himself music theory as a boy through a study of the works of Mozart and Haydn. Published as Trois Quatuors Concertans, these are typically fine works of art and craft. Krommer's minor-key quartets were especially expressive, the E minor piece here being the literal and figurative focus of an emotionally generous programme.


Indeed, whether more Romantically or Classically engaged, the AQ perform always with great acuity, communicative conviction and technical accuracy. They have made every one of these recordings memorable and worthy of the attention of all fans of the string quartet genre. No one wary of the 'period instrument' label should hesitate either. The AQ's have particularly rounded tones that complement the slightly lowered concert pitch (A430).
Hungaroton's sound quality in every instance is practically immaculate. Quartet players have an innate ability to inhale with extravagance; none more so than certain illustrious compatriots of the AQ. Hungaroton's engineers have managed to place microphones so that the players' breathing here is restricted for pick-up purposes to the odd quick sniff and thus does not leech into the fabric of the music. The accompanying booklets are of more variable quality, translations into English (by non-natives) sometimes alighting on the wrong register ("he got acquainted with the 22-year-old Beethoven at Prince Karl Lichnowsky's place"!) and even flirting with incoherence on occasion. This is not universally the case - the Förster booklet, for example, is first-rate.
-- ByzantionMusicWeb International


Franz Krommer (27 November 1759 in Kamenice u Jihlavy – 8 January 1831 in Vienna) was a Czech violinist and composer of classical music. He was a violinist in the orchestra of the duke of Styria, and Maestro di Cappella for Duke Ignaz Fuchs, before succeeding Leopold Kozeluch as composer for the Imperial Court of Austria (from 1813 until his death in 1831). Krommer's output was prolific, with at least 300 published compositions in at least 110 opus numbers, including at least 9 symphonies, 70 string quartets, 15 string quintets, and many works for wind ensemble, for which he is best known today.


The Authentic Quartet, which was founded by Zsolt Kalló in 2002, is Hungary's leading period instrument string quartet.


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