Kaminski, Heinrich


Kaminski, Heinrich

String Quintet in F-sharp minor (versions 1916 and 1927 / in 2 volumes)

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Heinrich Kaminski – String Quintet in f-sharp Minor (first version, 1916)

(b. Tiengen, 4 July 1886 — d. Ried near Benediktbeuern, 21 June 1946)

I First movement p. 3
II Andante p. 15
III Allegro grazioso – Andantino – Allegro leggiero p. 22
IV Fuge p. 36

In 1914 Heinrich Kaminski finished the composition of Psalm 69, his first monumental work, and showed it to Bruno Walter, at that time music director of the Bavarian State Opera. Walter let him know that he considered him to be one of the few, who were really called. He promised to conduct the first performance (this happened in May 1920). By the end of 1914 Kaminski started composing his String Quintet in f-sharp Minor for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello, a piece that can be compared with Bruckner’s quintet not only in regard to the dimensions of form. The work on the quintet was interrupted by the composition of six choral settings for mixed choir of four voices a cappella (comp. 1915, publ. by Schott) and two calling-ups for war service (May 1915 and May 1916), finally resulting in his discharge for health-reasons. On 4 March 1916 his close friend Franz Marc, the great painter, fell at Verdun. Kaminski married and lived with his wife Friederike in the house of Maria Marc, the painter’s widow, in Ried near Benediktbeuern, Bavaria. By the end of 1916 Kaminski completed his string quintet there. Gertrud Schuster-Woldan, Valentin Härtl, Giacinta della Rocca, Philipp Hass and Johannes Hegar needed about 25 rehearsals for the piece. On 12 March 1917 they played the first performance in the Museum in Munich. The listeners were fascinated by this “manifestation of a young genius … opening up the panorama of a new world” (P. F. in »Münchner Neueste Nachrichten«, 24 March). Among the congratulators was Bruno Walter to whom Kaminski then assigned the original score. The quintet was published in print in the same year by the Munich publisher Otto Halbreiter and was later taken over by Universal Edition.

After ten years, in March 1927, Kaminski carried out the long projected revision of the string quintet, primarily for, as he wrote to Hans Reinhardt, “simplifying, precise denotation and better convenience”. In the same year the revised version appeared in print in the »Philharmonia« pocket score edition and therefore was effectively spread around. The string quintet was played everywhere in Europe, and Kaminski was obviously considered to be one of the great composers of the time.

By the end of July 1927, Walter Braunfels took his pupil Reinhard Schwarz (later called Schwarz-Schilling) to Ried to do his further studies under Kaminski’s guidance. Schwarz, who was already very advanced, soon became Kaminski’s spiritually most intimate pupil. In the summer Emil Hertzka, managing director of the publisher Universal Edition, visited Kaminski in Ried. As he found in the just revised string quintet many passages with an orchestral effect, particularly in the Fugue, he suggested to arrange the piece for string orchestra. After a few days Kaminski gave his consent and wrote to Hertzka that his pupil Schwarz was willing to do this work. Shortly before Christmas Schwarz-Schilling finished the arrangement which had become part of his studies with Kaminski. Kaminski thought that the changes between concertino and ripieno episodes would add a new kind of attraction to the piece. The arrangement was published in 1928 by Universal Edition as ‘Work for String Orchestra’. The first performance of this arrangement on 22 February 1929 in Wuppertal was conducted by Franz von Hoesslin.

For performance material please contact the publisher Universal Edition, Vienna (www.universaledition.com).

Reprint in this form by kind permission of Universal Edition AG, Vienna, 2002

Score No.






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