Quatuor op. 10 / new edition with a critical report by Piet Stryckers (score and parts)
Quatuor op. 10 (1858)
(Harelbeke, 17 August 1834 – Antwerp, 8 March 1901)
Peter Benoit composed his only string quartet during his first study trip after being awarded the Prix de Rome (1857). With the bursary that came with this prestigious government prize for musical composition Benoit went to Germany around 15 March 1858, travelling through Cologne and Bonn to Leipzig. This same route had been taken by Adolphe Samuel (1824-1898), who had won the Prix de Rome in 1845 and who had used his bursary to travel to Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy in Leipzig.
According to his friend, musicographer and composer Edmond Van der Straeten, Benoit wanted to experience
‘(le) mouvement réformateur’ (‘the reform movement’) in Germany. Here, Van der Straeten clearly refers to the group of composers around Franz Liszt, which was described in 1859 as ‘Neudeutsche Schule’ (‘New German School’) by Franz Brendel in the Neue Zeitschrift für Musik.
Benoit would only stay in Leipzig for a few days because it was near the end of the music season. After Leipzig he went to Dresden (where his overture to the piece Het dorp in ’t gebergte was performed), then to Prague (where he met his mentor François-Joseph Fétis) and to Berlin (where he composed his Petite cantate de Noël and where his Ave Maria op. 1 was composed). Finally he arrived in Munich around 20 September. There, Benoit
found the city in a festive mood: it was the city’s 700th birthday, which was celebrated with historic cavalcades, expositions and ‘superbes et grandioses concerts’ (‘superb and grandiose concerts’), as Benoit wrote in his letter home on 28 September 1858. In the same letter, Benoit praised Munich itself as well: “Maintenant pour vous parler encore un peu de l’Allemagne je vous dirai que Munich est la ville la plus intéressante pour des artistes. On y fait de la belle musique dans les églises. Il y a un théâtre, un bon orchestre, une belle bibliothèque, de belles galeries de tableaux, de beaux monuments, etc. etc. (“I will now tell you something more about Germany, more specifically about Munich, the city I consider the most interesting for artists. Beautiful music is played in the churches. There’s a theatre, a good orchestra, a beautiful library, beautiful art galleries, beautiful monuments, etc. etc.”) However, Benoit did not feel too well during his “Bildungsreise” through Germany, and he was looking forward to his stay in Paris (starting in the spring of 1859): “Malgré le charme qu’a l’Allemagne pour moi, je serai heureux de voir terminer ce voyage, le climat ne convient pas à mon tempérament nerveux et je crois que je souffrirai beaucoup en hiver ici.” (“Even though I find Germany a most charming place, I will be glad to end this journey. The climate doesn’t fit my nervous temperament and I believe I would suffer a lot here in wintertime.”)
In Munich he met a certain Baroness von Siegroth and he was introduced to Franz Liszt. At the time, Liszt was on a mountain excursion with princess Carolyne von Sayn-Wittgenstein and he too stayed in Munich for a while. According to Benoit’s letter of 30 October 1858, Liszt had invited him to Weimar. Benoit had planned to go there in December, but in the end illness forced him to return to Belgium through Leipzig.
It is during his stay in Munich that Benoit composed his string quartet, at the end of September and the beginning of October. Interestingly enough, Benoit did not create the work in chronological order: on 1 October he completed the second part, the day after the third part, on 4 October he wrote the beginning and another two days later he finished the final part.
Thanks to a note in the handwritten manuscript we know that the quartet was performed shortly after in Munich by the string quartet of Johann ‘Hanny’ Christoph Lauterbach (1832-1918). It is most likely that Benoit already
knew Lauterbach from when they were students at the Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles. From 1850 onwards, Lauterbach prospered at the Brussels Conservatoire as a student of Charles de Bériot and of the director Fétis. Benoit would enrol in Brussels one year later, the year Lauterbach graduated with “le prix d’honneur à la classe de perfectionnement” (with honours).
During that period, Lauterbach performed a lot of concerts in the region of Brussels. In the summer of 1851 he performed multiple times for the Société d’Harmonie of Ixelles with concertante work of de Bériot, Vieuxtemps and Artôt and with string quartets by Mozart and Beethoven. Early 1852 he was still playing in the Société Philharmonique in Brussels, but later he went back to his native country to work as a violin teacher at the Munich Conservatory. There, Lauterbach organised very successful “Kammermusik-Soireen” (chamber music evenings) together with pianist Franz Wüllner. Lauterbach dove into the quartets and other chamber music pieces by Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven. Statements of his contemporaries teach us that he was an excellent violinist and “chambrist”. Later, Lauterbach moved to Dresden, where he also founded a quartet (with the renowned Friedrich Grützmacher as cellist). At the time, Lauterbach was on an intensive tour through Europe and he even published some violin pieces of his own.
Read full preface / Komplettes Vorwort > HERE
The Flemish Music Collection
New print / Urtext
Set Score & Parts
225 x 320 mm