String Quartet, Op.13 (Nováček, Ottokar)




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Matesic (2011/1/21)

Performer Pages Steve's Bedroom Band (String Quartet)
Publisher Info. Steve Jones
Performers Steve's bedroom band
Misc. Notes Not "allegro" but "Adagio ma non troppo". At F Violin II should play G# and Enatural. "Singularly impressive" according to Cobbett
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Sheet Music

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Generoso (2010/2/14)

Editor First edition
Publisher. Info. New York: G. Schirmer, 1904. Plate 16656a.
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General Information

Work Title String Quartet
Alternative. Title
Composer Nováček, Ottokar
Opus/Catalogue NumberOp./Cat. No. Op.13
I-Catalogue NumberI-Cat. No. ION 9
Key C major
Movements/SectionsMov'ts/Sec's 4 movements:
  1. Allegro (232 bars)
  2. Scherzo: Vivace (457 bars)
  3. Hymnus: (Adagio) ma non troppo - Grave - Tempo di Adagio
  4. Finale: Maestoso - Allegro con brio (289 bars)
First Performance. 1901 December 30?, Boston, Kneisel Quartet (or earlier)
First Publication. 1904
Dedication Franz Kneisel
Composer Time PeriodComp. Period Romantic
Piece Style Romantic
Instrumentation 2 Violins, Viola, Cello

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Allegro ma non troppo (p.30 of Schirmer score) - well, there is a (probable, 99.44% probable) typo for you. (.66% possible: Ives: "the wrong notes are right!" :) but ... even in a somewhat odd duck like this piece seems to be - unlikely.) (Schissel)

(Not published before 1900, so "op.13 'posthumous'" as described by Nabu Press in their 2010 reprint and at Hofmeister's Monatsbericht (1904), p.113.)

The whole quartet was announced as to be performed ("MS." - from manuscript, of course... not yet published!) in the 1902 season by the Kneisel Quartet in Chicago in the pages of the Musical Record and Review (November? 1901, page 84.)

First edition parts are at U. Sydney Australia (permanent catalogue link - plate 16656c.) Also at NYPL from the collection of the Flonzaley Quartet.

Busoni seems to have conducted the Hymnus 3rd movement in a string orchestra arrangement in 1903 as a tribute along with Busoni's own piano concerto (December 1903 concert in which Busoni first performed this work - assuming this is the same Hymnus.) (Hrm. Die Musik, 6 Dec. 1904, on a somewhat similar concert, I think also given by Busoni: "Dann wurde ein Hymnus von dem verstorbenen Ottokar Novacek gespielt, d. h. aus dessen Streichquartett op. 13 ein Satz." -- so quite possibly.)

Posthumous publication raises the question of what shape the score was in at the composer's death (not because it seems a particularly insufficient work (quite the contrary, subjectively-said!... ) - but on general principle, even though no editor is named as for e.g. the similarly posthumously-published String Quartet by Wilhelm Hill which apparently had to be edited from manuscripts, there still exists a range of possibilities... one wonders if some archive at Schirmer has this information. Since online Schirmer's catalogues seem to confuse the brothers Ottokar with Rudolf Nováček, ... well, maybe there are archives of the Brodsky Quartet somewhere...) - Schissel

Another but interesting? note - some of the letters about the Brodsky Quartet (and from and between their members and Busoni, a good friend of Nováček's) in the British National Archive here refer to music by Nováček, at least one specifically to this work (see letter AB 787 on that page, dated 20 October (which year- perhaps 1898 or 1899? There is also a letter from 1887 referring to a quartet by Nováček- either lost or the E minor, one guesses.)

1902 January 8 New York Times contains a review of a concert at which the quartet was played and in which its dedication to Franz Kneisel is mentioned. (Listed as quartet, C major, Opus 13 (first time) - probably premiere, unless this means first time in New York City; am guessing however that premiere is meant. The review devotes some length of time to a description of the C major quartet.) (Performed soon after that - January 20 or so - in Princeton; it seems the quartet did take the work on tour...) Performed even earlier- probably premiere, unless performed even earlier in Chicago- in Boston on December 30? 1901 (Boston Journal, December 31 1901 issue. A Boston premiere does make sense given the composer's association with the orchestra there.)