Spohr String Quartet in G (Op. 82 no. 2)
Occasionally, you take on a task which at first seems relatively straightforward, but unfolds to become quite an endurance test…..
In our exploration of Spohr’s string quartets we have discovered some real gems. I’d put them in a bracket of well deserving but neglected works that really reward both listeners and players – they are creatively written, imaginative and distinctive. Sadly, with the G major quartet (Op. 82, no. 2) there are no printed editions available at present, so we have to settle for a 19th century publication produced by Schlesinger. Over the years it has become rather faint and has many wrong notes as well as inconsistent slurring / dynamic markings.
I’ve decided to re-set the piece using Sibelius software so that it can be legible for performance and while I’m at it, to correct any mistakes. Helpfully, Keith Warsop from the Spohr Society of Great Britain has come to the rescue with a copy of the composers original autographed work which he has posted to me. Luckily, Spohrs handwriting is very easy to read and all of the phrasing and dynamic marks are placed accurately under the relevant notes – so hopefully we’ll end up with a very faithful score.
The whole process will take in the region of 30 hours careful work, but at the end we’ll have a means of bringing this wonderful piece of music back to life and hopefully include it in a concert this year (the 150th anniversary of Spohrs death).
So far, after several late nights – two movements are complete and I’ve decided that unless there are any other amazing but illegible works, I’m not going to volunteer to do this again in a hurry - it’s just so time consuming.
A lot of music by Spohr seems to have the capacity to go round and round your head – it’s extremely catchy. This quartet is a good example of that, and spending so much time with the score has led to involuntary humming and even insomnia!
Although mostly when we perform as a wedding string quartet, we won’t be asked to play Spohr, he really has written many beautiful, lively string quartets that very well could be enjoyed in concerts and at events, so this labour of love in typesetting the music may well mean this particular string quartet gets aired rather more in future.