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String quartet

Werner Karthaus (1901-1971): String quartet (1921). Fair copy of the full score in the composer's handwriting.


Werner Karthaus was a German musicologist and composer who was a renowned figure in the German music life in the first half of the 20th century. He composed 6 symphonies, a cello concerto, a capriccio for piano and orchestra, an opera "Doktor Eisenbart", chamber music and songs. His works were performed regularly in the 1930s and 40s, for example his first symphony was premiered  1940 in Essen under Albert Bittner, his second symphony 1942 in Remscheid under Horst Tanu Margraf.

Werner Karthaus composed a second string quartet c-minor in 1933, but this one was begun 20 June 1920 and finished 15 February 1921. So this seems to be one of the very first compositions of Werner Karthaus.

PDF-Dokument [1.5 MB]

The sound snippet below is a computer realisation of the beginning of the String quartet.

Frantisek Bartos (1905-1973): String quartet No.2 op.10 (1933). Autograph manuscript of the 4 parts.


Frantisek Bartos was born on 13 June 1905 in Brnenec (Czech Republic). He studied music at the Prague Conservatory under Josef Bohuslav Foerster, Karel Boleslav Jirak and Jaroslav Kricka between 1921 and 1928. He successfully started to compose music during his studies - his String sextet op.4 was composed in 1926 and was awarded by the Chamber Music Society the same year. But his studies Frantisek Bartos more and more focussed on writing articles for several magazines and newspapers, and books on Bedrich Smetana, Mozart, Otakar Sin and Dvorak. Frantisek Bartos died on 21 May 1973 in Prague (Czech Republic).


Frantisek Bartos work list is short. It ends at op.16 and consists mainly of chamber music. The works of Frantisek Bartos received immediate success and were performed several times in the 1930s and 40s.

The String quartet No.2 op.10 was composed in 1933. The work was awarded by the Chamber Music Society in 1935. Frantisek Bartos was founding member of the musical group "Manes" (hudební skupina Mánes) and this group organised a string quartet evening on 16 March 1937 on which string quartets by Pavel Borkovec (No.2), Isa Krejci (No.1), Jaroslav Jezek (No.1) and the String quartet No.2 by Frantisek Bartos were performed. This could be the world premiere of the work. A second performance took place on 18 April 1939 by the Peska Quartet (Josef Peska, Frantisek Vohanka, Josef Svoboda, Frantisek Smetana). The composition was published in 1947 through Hudebni Matice Umelecke Besedy.

Arthur Dennington (1904-1988): String quartet (1926). Fair copy of the full score and all four parts in the composer's hand.

Arthur Dennington was born on 12 August 1904 in London (England). He music at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the King's College London. After his studies he started to conduct several small orchestral groups in various institutes and schools in Northern London. In 1931 Arthur Dennington combined these different ensembles and formed the Modern Symphony Orchestra. For the next 44 years, until 1975, Arthur Dennington was the main conductor of the Modern Symphony Orchestra which took an important part in the orchestral landscape of London.


During his years with the Modern Symphony Orchestra Arthur Dennington conducted several world and English premieres of compositions, for example the world premieres of the Horn and Violin concertos by Ruth Gipps, or the English premieres of the Symphonie concertante by Frank Martin, the Guitar concerto by Stephen Dodgson or the first public performance of the Piano concerto by Alan Bush. Arthur Dennington also recorded several LPs with little known orchestral repertoire for the Rare Recorded Editions label, for example four volumes of ouvertures by Daniel Auber. In 1981 Arthur Dennington received an Honorary Fellowship of the Polytechnic Northern London University.


Arthur Dennington died on 16 May 1988 in Walmer (England)

PDF-Dokument [853.1 KB]

The sound snippet below is a computer realisation of the second movement "Andante con moto".

Herbert Griffiths (1899-1969): String quartet (1920). Fair copies of the full scores as well as of parts in the composer' handwriting.


Herbert Griffiths was born 1899 in Southport (England). He studied music and organ under Benjamin Lofthouse and Herbert Frederick Ellingford at the Royal College of Music and the Oxford University and was later a renowned organist who received Associateship (ARCO) and Fellowship Diplomas (FRCO) from the Royal College of Organists. Herbert Griffths also recorded several records of famous organ music for broadcasts in the late 1920s on the organ of the Stoll Picture Theatre.


Herbert Griffths also composed and arranged music from his early years. He started with traditional forms but became more famous in later years for his work on light classical music and music for films. A well-known work is the operetta "A Kiss in Spring", which was originally composed by Emmerich Kálmán, but for a performance series at the Alhambra Theatre in 1932 Herbert Griffiths reworked the score together with Constant Lambert. Herbert Griffiths also composed the music and conducted the orchestra for an ice skating and cabaret show titled "St. Moritz – Ice Musical Spectacle" that took place at the London Coliseum in 1937 and he worked for films and created music for "Such Is the Law" (1930), "Black in the Face" (1954), "Five O'Clock Finish" (1954), "That's an Order" (1955), "Playground Express" (1955), "The Stripes of Sgt. Schweiger" (1956) and "The Baroness" (1956).


Herbert Griffiths died 1969.


The String quartet dates from the student years of Herbert Griffiths at the Royal College of Music. The set of manuscripts contain a full score of a 4-movement string quartet from 1920. Additionally there is a full score and parts of what seems to be a revised version of the string quartet, now with just three movements.

The sound snippet below is the beginning of the second movement of the revised version of the String quartet.

Carlos Veerhoff (1926-2011): String quartet No.1 op.1 (1949) and String quartet No.2 op.33 (1974). Autograph manuscripts


Due to the fact that I own a huge part of the manuscripts of composer Carlos Veerhoff, I created an own subpage for him. So please go there for further information on him, his works and the holdings in my archive. You can find the Carlos Veerhoff Archive here.

Karl Herrmann (1882-1973): String quartet No.6 op.195 (1936). Fair copy of the full score in the composer's hand.


Karl Herrmann was born 23 August 1882 in Vienna (Austria). He first studied piano with Natalie Duesberg and music theory with Max Jentsch, Carl Lafite and Otto Müller. He later studied organ with Julius Böhm. Karl Herrmann first worked as a lecturer at the music school of August Duesberg in Vienna, but in 1914 he founded his own music school in his hometown. From 1934 to 1938 Karl Herrmann was teacher at the conservatory of folk music following a position as the music director of a Viennese music school. Karl Herrmann was also the founder of the "Wiener Tonkünstlerverein". He died on 30 January 1973 in Vienna.


Karl Herrmann composed over 300 works, among them are 6 symphonies, several masses, choral and vocal music, chamber music and piano works. Most of the autographs are archived at the Austrian National Library.

The String quartet No.6 op.195 was composed between 3 and 27 May 1936. It consists of the four movements I. Langsam - II. Sehr langsam - III. Scherzo - IV. Fuga.

Josef Roeger (1890-1966): String quartet op.22 (1931). Fair copy of the full score in the composer's handwriting.


Josef Roeger was the only child of the famous violinist Marie Soldat-Roeger (1863-1955). He studied Classical Philology in Tübingen (Germany) and piano with Angelo Kessissoglu in Stuttgart. He later worked for the Styrian provincial government. In the 1920s Josef Roeger studied composition with Leopold Suchsland and Robert Fuchs in Vienna.

The String quartet op.22 was composed in 1931 and finished on 9 April 1931. The autograph manuscript is dedicated to a "quartet in Wales" at the end of the score.

Martin Georgi (1889-1969): String quartet op.57 (1939). Fair copy of the four parts in the composer's hand.


Martin Richard Georgi was born 1 February 1889 in Bockau (Germany). He studied at a teacher's seminar in Schneeberg and later became teacher in Gornsdorf and Klingenthal. From 1914 to 1919 he taught in Thum and also held the position of the cantor there. From 1919 to 1922 Martin Georgi studied music with Prof. Polenz in Annaberg and became a music teacher and later Studienrat. Martin Georgi died 06 February 1969 in Thum.


Martin Georgi composed mainly chamber music and Singspiele. His work list contains several violin and viola sonatas, string trios, a few works for organ, a Grafenstein Suite for string orchestra and at least two string quartets - one from 1939 and one from 1942. The String quartet op.57 was written between July and November 1939. It consists of the four movements I. Im raschen Schritt - II. Gesangsmäßig - III. Menuett - IV. Sehr rasch.

PDF-Dokument [395.7 KB]

The snippet below is a computer realisation of the finale of the second movement "Gesangsmäßig".

Willy Böttcher (1898- 1976): String quartet No.1 op.27 (1930). Fair copy of the full autograph score.

Willy Böttcher was born on 09 August 1898 in Wittgensdorf near Chemnitz (Germany). He received his musical education at the Städtische Orchester in Annaberg as violinist, violist and pianist. In 1919 Willy Böttcher moved back to Chemnitz for further studies as conductor and chorus master. From 1921 to 1931 he was concertmaster of the Chemnitz Philharmonic Orchestra. Willy Böttcher dedicated his activities also to his local congregation, the Adventsgemeinde Chemnitz where he led the chorus and string orchestra for decades. From 1946 untill his retirement in 1963 he was violist at the Städtische Orchester Chemnitz. Willy Böttcher then moved to Fürth in West-Germany where he died on 6 December 1976.


The String quartet No.1 op.27 is subtitled "in Form einer Suite alten Stils" and was composed between 1926 and 1930. The work consists of six short movements titled I. Allemande - II. Menuett - III. Aria - IV. Gavotte-Musette - V. Sarabande - VI. Giga. The autograph bears an inscription to "Sud. Ass. R. Tretzsch", most likely this is Rudolf Tretzsch (1905 in Chemnitz - 1981), a violinist and music professor who is now best remembered for his huge viola collection which is part of the Primrose International Viola Archive.

PDF-Dokument [295.7 KB]

The sound snippet below is a computer realisation of the two last movements of the string quartet, the Sarabande and the Giga.

Aloys Kontarsky (*1931): String quartet in D (1948). Autograph manuscript. Only the first movement and the beginning of the second movement.


Aloys Kontarsky was born 14 May 1931 in Iserlohn (Germany). He began to play the piano from an early age and later studied under Else Schmitz-Gohr, Maurits Frank and Eduard Erdmann. Together with his brother Alfons he became one of the finest and most renowned piano duos of the world in the 1960s and 70s. In 1983 Aloys Kontarsky fell seriously ill and had to end his career as a concert pianist.


I could not find information about compositional activities of Aloys Kontarsky, he is solely known as a world class performer. The string quartet dates from 1948 when Aloys Kontarsky was 17 years old. It is most likely that the young pianist tried his first steps as a composer with this work but later didn't pursue this path.

My autograph manuscript consists of only 6 pages. The complete first movement "Allegro impetuoso (straffes Zeitmaß)" with 218 measures and the beginning of the second movement "Andantino, quasi Allegretto". After 54 measures my manuscript breaks off, but it is most likely that the second movement and maybe the string quartet was completed.

Gerd Domhardt (1945-1997): String quartet No.1 (1974). Fair copy (with some corrections) of the four parts in the composer's hand.


This set of parts was in possession of Friedrich-Carl Erben, the first violinist of the Erben Quartet to whom the work is dedicated. The parts are clean copies but still have several handwritten remarks and revised measures stick over to the original writings. The first violin part also has two notes in a different handwriting (most likely from Friedrich-Carl Erben) about the premieres: The notes say that there was a pre-premiere on 24.09.1974 in Friedrichsbrunn at the "Quedlinburger Musiktage" and the premiere on 11.10.1974 at the University of Halle (Saxony-Anhalt) at the "XII. Hallesche Musiktage".

The score is published by Edition Peters.

Georg Katzer (*1935): String quartet No.1 (1965). Fair copy of the four parts in the composer's hand.


This set of parts was also in possession of Friedrich-Carl Erben (see the Domhardt autograph above). The sets have several corrections and comments in pencil, most likely from the composer himself. The sets are heavily damaged at the margins, which shows the sets were used several times for performance. The part of the first violin again has a note about the performances: 05.06.1967 was a recording session for the "Berliner Rundfunk" followed by two performances in the Apollosaal of the Staatsoper Unter Den Linden in Berlin (30.09.1967 and 17.11.1969).

The autograph came along with a copy of the published parts, each inscribed by the composer and dedicated to the corresponding member of the Erben Quartett (violin 1: Friedrich-Carl Erben, violin 2: Ralf-Rainer Haase, viola: Armin Orlamünde and cello: Wolfgang Bernhardt)

The string quartet No.1 is one of the earliest compositions by Georg Katzer. The score was published in 1971 by Deutscher Verlag für Musik, which now belongs to Breitkopf & Härtel.

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