Monday, 8 December 2008

211. Louis Spohr - Nonet in F Major (1813)


Title: Wiener Oktett Testament
Performers: Wiener Oktett
Year: 1952
Length: 33 minutes


Louis (or Ludwig) Spohr is not a household name today, in his time however he was as big as Beethoven, in fact throughout the 19th century he was a pretty big name. This nonet shows us why.

Spohr is a composer of very attractive music, which is also pretty complex and quite beautiful, the fact that he is overshadowed by Beethoven and Schubert is, however, quite justified.

Spohr seems to lack that ineffable quality of genius present in those other composers and even though the music is very attractive and beautiful it seems to lack that certain something. Still, it is a great piece even if it ends up being somewhat more of a curiosity. Worth listening to, however.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Spohr was a noted violinist, and invented the violin chinrest, about 1820. He was also a significant conductor, being one of the first to use a baton and also inventing rehearsal letters, which are placed periodically throughout a piece of sheet music so that a conductor may save time by asking the orchestra or singers to start playing "from letter C", for example).

In addition to musical works, Spohr is remembered particularly for his Violinschule, a treatise on violin playing which codified many of the latest advances in violin technique, such as the use of spiccato. In addition, he wrote an entertaining and informative autobiography, published posthumously in 1860. A museum is devoted to his memory in Kassel.

Spohr's best works are his wistful, elegiac minor-mode first movements, hailed by many of his contemporaries as quintessentially Romantic and inherited by Mendelssohn; his deft scherzos whose influence was felt as late as Brahms; his expressive slow movements with their chromatic alterations which, on occasion, become cloyingly sentimental; and his light-hearted finales which are able to avoid the trap of trivial thematic material

None of the Nonet online, but a sonet for harp and violin:

No comments: