String Quartet No.2 in E minor Op.62 (parts)
(b. Frauenthal, 5 February 1847 – d. Vienna, 19 February 1927)
String Quartet in A minor for 2 Violins, Viola, and Cello Op. 62
Robert Fuchs was a celebrated Austrian composer and pedagogue, and the youngest brother of Johann Nepomuk Fuchs. He studied composition with Dessoff at the Vienna Conservatory of Music and later served as professor of harmony at his alma mater from 1875 to 1912. As a teacher, he had taught some of the most illustrious composers that included Mahler, Sibelius, Schreker, and Wolf.
While his early G minor Symphony was not well received, his later five serenades for string orchestra were more successful with the public. A friend of Brahms, who thought highly of his work, Fuchs proved himself as a composer when his Symphony no. 1 in C won the Beethoven prize awarded by the Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde in
1886. Besides his serenades, he also wrote 2 operas, 5 symphonies, piano concerto,
2 piano trios, 4 string quartets, 2 piano quartets, and numerous works for piano solo.
While we do not know when the first performance of the String Quartet in A minor, Op. 62 occurred, we know that it was completed in 1899 in Berlin and dedicated to his friend, the assize court justice Dr. Theodor von Brücke. Chronologically, this work was second in line of the four string quartets he completed between 1897 and 1934. The first movement of the A minor quartet is in three-part form (A B A). A master of harmonic manipulation, Fuchs carefully avoided a clear A minor tonal center in the opening measures by adding accidentals and by avoiding a strong cadence in the home key. It is also interesting to note that starting in m. 28, there is a contrasting display of musical styles. From m. 28, the four parts move independently similar to the vocal polyphony of Renaissance church music. At m. 42 onwards, the ensemble takes on the mood of a funeral march and starting in m. 50, it is reminiscent of a country dance. The B section, which begins in m. 69, demonstrates the use of imitation counterpoint among the four parts starting in m. 74. The return of the A section occurs at m. 147 with the first violin part sounding an octave higher. In addition, unlike the original A section, the second A section in m. 164 witnesses a change of key signature to A major that signals a modal shift from the home key as a means to create tonal contrast. Un- doubtedly, this new key foreshadows the centrality of A major in the last movement.
In two-part form (A B | A’ B’), the second movement is in the key of F. This move- ment displays how interest in melodic ideas can be generated between parts. A com- plete melodic idea is shared by the cello and the first violin, with the former playing expressly in m. 10 and answered very softly by the latter at mm. 12-13 with an eighth- note figure. Another example of a more extensive nature can be seen in the B section
Read preface / Vorwort > HERE