Quartet g-minor Op.15 - Richard Barth

Quartet g-minor Op.15
Amadeus Verlag
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Richard Barth 1850-1923
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Amadeus Verlag Strijkkwartet
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Quartet g-minor Op.15 - Richard Barth

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'On 25th October 1900, Joachim played my new string quartet in one of his quartet concerts at the Berlin Singakademie. I had played it to him with my colleagues at my home on 2nd February, and he was so taken with it that he immediately said: 'I have to play that.' And he kept his word.' (K. Hofmann, Johannes Brahms in den Erinnerungen von Richard Barth, 1979, Hamburg). Andreas Moser's review of the premiere validates Joachim's judgment: 'I have just come from the Singakademie, where Joachim and his mates played your g minor quartet. Still under the impression of this beautiful performance, I feel compelled to shake your hand in admiration for the sensitive work you have added to our literature... I feel the need to tell you what a great and beautiful impression your piece made on me. I hope you will not stop at this one string quartet; for one who has so much to say in musical matters must industriously continue to speak.' Sadly, no further quartet followed. Barth's op. 15 is still one of the immortal masterpieces for quartet. This new edition of the work first published in 1901 by Simrock in Berlin aims to revive the quartet both in the home and in concert. Richard Barth was born in Grosswanzleben near Magdeburg on 5th June 1850. Raised in a musical environment, he first learnt the violin from concertmater Franz Beck in Magdeburg. At seven he was already performing Bériot's 1st Concerto in public. From 1863, the gifted youngster was taught in Hannover by Joseph Joachim, who in autumn 1867 recommended him as concertmaster to Julius Otto Grimm in Münster. During his 14 years in Münster, Barth made the acquaintance of Brahms, whose closest and truest friend he was to become. In 1881, he accepted the post of concertmaster in Krefeld. His increasing renown led to him being appointed music director of the Royal University in Marburg in 1887. 'As I had attended neither a conservatoire nor a high school, the whole lecturing aspect was new to me, and being used to exist solely within my own art and music, I had never discovered in myself any tendency towards musicology.' Self-taught, he felt that 'taught and learnt composition' was a hindrance to creativity. In September 1894, Barth was chosen to succeed Julius Bernuth as director of the Philharmonic concerts in Hamburg. Brahms, who had not sought the post, probably influenced this choice, as he 'spoke very highly of Professor Barth'. In 1895, Barth also took over the directorship of the Hamburgh Singakademie, as well as, from 1908, that of the Conservatoire. As an active musician, he never forsook chamber music, despite this enormous burden of work. In 1922, partially paralyzed, he returned to his daughter in Marburg, dying there on 25th. December 1923.

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