Thursday, 7 October 2010

Who on earth is Reinecke?

That was what our replacement cellist asked when we played the string quartet number 4 by Carl Reinecke. Rafi, our regular cellist, is in India, where his daughter and her Indian husband are having a grand opening of their new kayaking and trekking resort on the upper Ganges. So we enlisted Ofer, a social historian and a fine cellist, to fill in. Ofer had never heard of Reinecke, who was conductor of the Gewandhaus orchestra and a friend of Brahms.

The quartet is very good, certainly worthy of several readings and maybe even of a performance. It has a lot of Hollywood moments, and at times sounds like the score to a TV western. Of course, he wrote this 100 years before there were Hollywood or TV westerns, so we can't accuse him of being hackneyed. The scherzo is delightful, with a clever mixing of pizzicato with arco that gives it a sly, mischievous character - satyrs playing nasty but funny tricks.

Music is from Merton Music, whose catalogue is published at Ourtext chamber music for strings. Their prices are ridiculously low, cheaper for sure than it would cost you to print on your home printer and bind yourself. I bought it back in the days when Theo Wyatt, the founder, ran the organization. I suggested to him that he publish the catalogue on-line, and he flatly refused. "If I publish the catalogue on the internet, there will be more demand than I can fill, and I will have to raise my prices." That's mom-and-pop marketing strategy with a vengeance! Anyway, Theo has since retired, and his successor John Harding is a bit less conservative. So you can now see the catalogue and order via the Ourtext website.

1 comment:

  1. I concur with your high opinion of the Reinecke #4. Another Merton treasure your group might like is a quartet by Reissiger, Op. 111 #3, especially its last two movements. And among my most recent obscure-quartet enthusiasms, I have to put in a plug for the early and largely unknown quartets by Franz Schubert!