Hyperion Records

Double Quartet No 3 in E minor, Op 87
composer
December 1832/January 1833

Recordings
'Spohr: Double Quartets' (CDD22014)
Spohr: Double Quartets
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Details
Movement 1: Adagio – Allegro
Track 1 on CDD22014 CD2 [13'17] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
Movement 2: Andante con variazioni
Track 2 on CDD22014 CD2 [8'38] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
Movement 3: Scherzo: Allegro
Track 3 on CDD22014 CD2 [6'59] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)
Movement 4: Finale: Allegro molto
Track 4 on CDD22014 CD2 [7'15] 2CDs Dyad (2 for the price of 1)

Double Quartet No 3 in E minor, Op 87
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The Third Double Quartet, in E minor, was composed during December and January 1832/3 and, following the usual practice, was first given at one of Spohr’s regular string quartet circles. Perhaps it was this work that Sterndale Bennett heard at a similar soirée in Kassel in 1842: ‘I never heard such playing in my life. He [Spohr] is now nearly sixty years old, but has the greatest energy.’

The grave melancholy of the opening ‘Adagio — Allegro’ pervades much of this predominantly lyrical work, but is partially relieved by the dazzling virtuosity of the ‘Andante con variazioni’. The underlying tension, reflecting perhaps the emergence of a deep-rooted despondency in the composer caused by growing disillusionment with his position at Kassel, reappears in the form of restless agitation in the Scherzo. The mood changes in the trio (tonic major) as the breezy, wide-ranging melody is tossed from instrument to instrument in the ‘first’ quartet with striking virtuosity. A new mood of resolute optimism appears in the Finale which even the minor-mode second theme, with its insistent triplet figure, cannot dispel.

from notes by Maurice Powell © 1998

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