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The String Quartets of Anton Reicha

First Sounding

Anton Reicha

Journal of a Restoration

by Ron Drummond

On 2 July 1998, a summer-long series of (ir)regular string quartet readings began in the living room of a friend. The central focus of these readings was Anton Reicha's string quartets. What follows are a series of informal reports on the quartet readings, written in the immediate aftermath of each – a journal of a restoration, if you will. Though I found, on hearing certain works repeated at a later date, that my recollections were sometimes faulty, I nevertheless feel that my original reports are roughly true to the spirit of the works in question. I've therefore chosen not to revise them; my hope is that the freshness of first impressions will in itself be of some value.

Journal Entries:

Reicha in a 1930 Model A Ford
Friday, 3 July 1998

Yesterday, a major moment: I sat in a friend's living room and listened as four string players read through Anton Reicha's String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Opus 49, No. 1 – quite possibly the first such reading by anyone this century. I think I was quite prepared for the music to not be all that impressive (certainly I was prepared for the playing to not be impressive, given its informality). The music, however, was amazing, and the playing much better than expected. The players were very excited by the music! They also played through Pavel Vranický's String Quartet No. 15 in B flat Major, Opus 15, No. 3 – the only Vranický quartet published in parts in a modern edition. Utter delight! The players could not stop grinning!

The players will be meeting weekly for three months of quartet-reading sessions – yesterday was the first. Three quartets per session – and I get to choose what they play for all of it! Heaven! Basic lay-out for each session: warm up with a Haydn quartet. Then two more quartets, by Vranický or Reicha or Emanuel Aloys Förster. My emphasis will be on getting through as many of the Reicha quartets as we can, though I'm also keen to have one or two of them played through several times. Though informal, I hope the quartet parties will lead to performance-readiness for at least three quartets, including the Reicha C minor.

Then, to round off an amazing day, an old friend called me in the afternoon offering to take me out for beer and pizza. Once watered and fed, we went back to his place, where we took his newly rebuilt (by him, using 100% original parts) 1930 Model A Ford out for a spin around the Ballard neighborhood. And he let me drive! Damn, that car ran like a dream! I was hootin' and hollerin' up and down residential streets, as the sky above turned indigo with evening. A classic day! Reicha in the morning, good old fashioned American ingenuity in the evening!

My ride in the Model A was wholly unexpected, the friend who called someone I hadn't seen in two years. Coming as it did on the same day that Reicha's C minor quartet was first heard in the 19th century proved a delightful ramification of the day's theme: restoration. Some days dawn bearing gifts.

The C Minor String Quartet
Thursday, 9 July 1998

Anton Reicha's first six string quartets, published in two sets of three as Opus 48 and 49 by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1804, constitute Reicha's very explicit response to Beethoven's Opus 18. Five of the six quartets share key signatures with the Beethoven. Three of those occur in the same positions in their respective sets: in both sets, No. 2 is in G, No. 4 is in C minor, No. 6 is in B flat. So Reicha's, as Beethoven's, String Quartet No. 4 is in C minor.

This morning, the second quartet reading party of our summer series. Of the three quartets today, one was repeated from last week's session: Reicha's String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Opus 49, No. 1. If there was any doubt before, there is none now: the work is a flat-out masterpiece. The violist said afterwards: "After this quartet gets out, every ensemble in the world will want to play it." After every movement, the players exclaimed over its extraordinary felicities. The first violinist couldn't stop grinning as he played – and there were more than a few moments when he burst out in delighted, marvelling laughter.

Here is a first attempt at describing what we heard:

First movement: an ominous slow opening, eery and tense. It blossoms into allegro, the first violin rushing up and taking a long descent over the thrumming of the other strings. The sudden veerings in harmony and direction surprise with their inevitability. After the exposition and its repeat (which includes the slow introduction), there's a long hushed moment, initiating the development, where the music fragments, shatters into its component parts: the music stutters from one instrument to another, no two instruments playing at once. Then the lines rejoin, and rise. There are stunning moments of unanimity, a play of shifting voice leading. On second hearing, it's as though I've always known this music: it turns with the profound rightness of seasons or stars.
The second movement – adagio sempre piano e sostenuto – opens with a plaintive melody on second violin alone. The first joins a few measures in, followed, at similar intervals, by viola and cello. The structure is shy of fugue; it's like a round in its simplicity. The profile of the melody, though distinct (and distinctly lovely) is almost baroque in its open-endedness; the mood is not melody-driven, but deepens through accretion, the development of ever-shifting layers of juxtaposed sound. Harmony moves not by the dictates of logical progression, but by the incidences of staggered periodicity. One thinks of wind moving over a layer of still air close to the ground, stirring up only languid eddies in a litter of autumn leaves.
The minuet begins in the major, turns darkly minor in a series of emphatic rising unison chords. The trio prances, a grave dancer.
The finale features a drop-dead beautiful melodic hook, that gets tossed around more by the ways in which the various instruments avoid playing it than by the ways they do! Near the end, the first violin and cello playfully toss it back and forth a few times. An exhilirating finish!

There's no question: this masterpiece must be recorded, and soon.

The E minor and G Major String Quartets
Sunday, 19 July 1998

The contrast offered by Anton Reicha's string quartets in C minor, E minor, and G Major is extreme: the works bear almost no resemblance to one another outside the broad structure of standard four-movement form. This is very good news, and bodes well for the remaining 17 quartets.

On Friday night, our third quartet reading. The players were exuberant, the jokes flying fast and furious between movements, after breakdowns, as they worked through Reicha's peculiar performance problems. Again, the response was overwhelmingly positive; there was an electric sense that something extraordinary was emerging from a centuries-long silence.

I do believe that the E minor quartet, Opus 90 No. 4, predates the quartets in c & G from Opp. 48/49. The opening movement is wholly traditional; its melancholic storm and stress, apart from a few quirky details, could have issued from the pen of Mozart or Haydn. The ideas are fresh, the mold into which they are poured well-established. Having thus acknowledged his indebtedness to his masters, Reicha then strikes out into his own territory: each succeeding movement is more bizarre than the last, departs further from the well-trodden. Wholly a work of homage at the beginning, it is wholly the work of a brilliantly independent composer by the end.

In his first six published quartets, Reicha made it explicit that he was responding to Beethoven's Opus 18: in both sets, the second, fourth, and sixth quartets share key signatures. On Friday night, the group played through each composer's G Major second quartet. Reicha wouldn't be caught dead imitating Beethoven! His quartet is original in the extreme. Indeed, a couple of the players, commenting on the dense difficulties of the first movement, said it sounded like something written fifty years later – Brahms was mentioned. When the players first dug into the opening movement, there was a breakdown almost immediately; within a few moments, they found the problem and took it again from the top. But during the break, the cellist squinted at his part and said, "Reicha sure as hell was on different drugs than Beethoven!"

Later, the second violinist said Reicha's G Major struck him as being wholly new and yet something he's always known – that profound rightness I spoke of in regard to the C minor quartet. I will admit however that the slow movement disappointed me – a theme and variations, the melody remained rather boringly UNvaried from beginning to end, save a progression through remote key areas, including G flat, and fairly extensive shifts in the harmonic underpinnings. My guess, after only a single hearing, is that this was precisely Reicha's point – he's varying everything but the melody. Still, it struck me, and at least one of the players, as rather dull. A preliminary judgement only. As always, time, and many further performances, will tell.

The minuet and trio were a particular delight, though the most traditional movement in the quartet. The finale – after two days, I can think of not a single thing to say about it, beyond the fact that we all enjoyed it immensely. Memory – beloved curse, cursed blessing. But not being fluent enough with score reading to be able to hear the music in my head, I can rely on memory only – and recordings.

What glorious chaos this process is!

The Grand Quartet in C Major, Opus 52
Friday, 21 August 1998

At one point, Rich, the cellist, said, "I've never heard anything like it before." A telling comment when you realize that the work he was referring to is almost two hundred years old.

This afternoon, after a month of conflicting schedules, one cancellation, a public recital that featured Pavel Vranický's String Quartet No. 15, and sundry other delays, the Reicha quartet readings finally resumed. The venue this time was the sanctuary of The Church of the Ascension, a Methodist church in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle. The group, too, was new, at least in part: Thane, whose efforts have made all of the Reicha readings possible, once again played viola, with his customary beauty and richness of tone; Rich, who played in the first two readings (both of which featured the C minor), and who recently earned his doctorate at the Eastman School of Music, brought his firmly focused cello tone and native musicality to bear once again; the new players were a couple, John on first violin and Hyekyung, a recent graduate of Julliard, on second. This is the finest line-up we've yet had – I am convinced that, if the players are interested in pursuing it, they could make of themselves a truly stellar string quartet ensemble. (In saying this is the finest line-up yet, I don't mean to slight the musicians who participated in the earlier readings in any way; they are fine players all, and every one of them added his or her own unique insight to the proceedings; indeed, this whole process of restoration could not have happened without them.)

The new group warmed up with the opening movement of Haydn's C minor quartet, Opus 17 No. 4. A rarely played work from just prior to Haydn's achievement of full mastery in the form, this Moderato has a haunting beauty unique in his ouevre, though unfortunately the remaining movements don't remotely live up to its promise. Though not a difficult piece technically, it requires much expressively. With the exception of Thane, none of the players had ever played the work, yet they acquitted it with polish and feeling – they were so together on it, in fact, that if I hadn't known otherwise I would have figured there had been a half dozen rehearsals prior to the one I heard. But though various combinations of the players had played together before, this was the first time for these four as a group. John and Hyekyung are extraordinarily fine players; the four of them well matched to my ears, with good rapport.

The first complete quartet they played – and as it turned out the highlight of the day – was Anton Reicha's Grand String Quartet in C Major, Opus 52, published by Breitkopf & Härtel in 1805. (Of Reicha's twenty published quartets, only Opus 52 was published with the designation "Grand Quartet.") It was this work that Rich's comment above was in reference to. The players were quite astonished by its many quirks, its bizarre harmonic and rhythmic transitions, juxtapositions. One player guessed its provenance as the 1830s. Another was reminded of jazz. There were more than a few passages where, to my ears, the music shifted from the early 19th century straight into the 20th ! And I couldn't help but wonder whether Dvořák knew Reicha's quartets.

The work opens with an Allegretto con Variazioni. Where I had found the variation movement from the G Major quartet Opus 48 No. 2, which I reported on a month or so ago, rather dull, the C Major's opening set of variations was jaw-dropping in its beauties. Every variation was a surprise, wholly unpredictable and yet profoundly right and inevitable at one and the same time. I have never, in any work from any century, heard such juxtapositions.

What's frustrating about this process of reading through Reicha's quartets is that one hearing is never enough to grasp a work. And I have to wait so long before I can hear it again! As one listens, one attempts to grasp the sense of each passage as it passes, and to fold that sense into the next while attempting to grasp its sense, and so on: an unfolding of articulated attention commensurate with the music's structurally articulate unfolding. But finally one can't fully do that shy of multiple concentrated hearings. And Reicha's music at its most inventive, at its most experimental, simply doesn't have the structural handles one knows and comes to expect from familiarity with Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven – or anyone else, for that matter. Commentators have talked of Reicha's thematic puzzles, of his penchant for shifting tonality sans modulation, of his progressive dislocations. What happens, when these procedures work (and they don't always – Reicha was never afraid of having his experiments fail), is that through accretion a point is reached where, in a movement's latter moments, things click together inside the listener's head, outside or in excess of the music being heard at that moment, such that the way we hear the music is transformed, suddenly and completely.

As I listened to the Allegretto con Variazioni, for all that I was caught up in a giddy rush of musical impressions, of bizarre and confounding supplantations or derivations of one figure / texture / rhythm with or by another – for all that I felt deliriously, deliciously lost – there came a distinct moment when everything clicked and made absolute and glowing sense, a moment when I suddenly knew exactly where I was yet it was a place I'd never been before. And what a view!

My memory's aswirl with musical moments. I'd be remiss in my reporting if I didn't mention just how playful and downright funny Reicha can be. But he can be dark too; he haunts here in a way that his later works rarely do.

I'll try to describe just one moment from the variations: the violins fall silent. The cellist takes up that type of bowing that looks like a see-saw, the bow's ends rising and falling rapidly either side the pivot of the bow's center moving in a repeating figure over the strings – I know there's a name for it, I just can't remember what it is. A harmonic fog rolling in. Over this, the violist plays a lovely rising melody. After several measures, the second violin takes over the melody while the viola joins the cello in thickening the fog's texture. Another several measures, and the first violin takes over, carrying the melody to its greatest heights, while the second violin joins viola and cello on the see-saw – the fog lies low on the land, rolling on, rolling wide, while the violin soars into clear night above. Lovely!

A delightful Menuetto with dark minor-mode trio follows. The Menuetto playfully quotes from the Minuet of Mozart's G Major quartet, K. 387 – Reicha weaves it into a movement wholly different from the Mozart, as though he's saying, "Look how far I've come!"

The third and final movement is really three movements – or four, depending on how one counts. They all flow into one another. It opens with a dark Largo. This leads into a Fugue so grotesque that one is reminded of nothing so much as Beethoven's Great Fugue from twenty years later! Reicha's fugue is nowhere near Beethoven's in scale, of course, but the players found delightful the way that, at the point where they were beginning to wonder whether he would go into a Beethoven-sized elaboration, Reicha dissolves the fugue's elements into the Largo, where like a proper acid it transforms it into a playfully freakish Allegro Scherzando that brings this truly grand quartet to its surprising, turn-on-a-dime conclusion.

After a break lively with comment (John said the C Major would work wonderfully in concert), the players resumed their seats and played through Reicha's B flat Major string quartet, Opus 49 No. 3. The big problem here was the numerous printer's errors, which were so bad in the slow movement that they all but rendered it unplayable – very frustrating for the players. Yet what came through in the slow movement suggested Dvořák at his lushly romantic best! Frustrating indeed, and the printer's errors pointed up the need to locate the autograph scores. I assume that most of those that have survived are to be found at the Bibliotheque Nationale, though both Olga Sotolova in her thematic catalog and Peter Eliot Stone in his New Grove worklist make no mention of autographs for the published quartets.

Breitkopf and Hartel were the publishers of Reicha's first eight quartets: the three of Opus 48, the three of Opus 49, and the one each of Opus 52 and Opus 58. Of the five quartets I've now heard, one came from Opus 48 (No. 2), two from Opus 49 (Nos. 1 & 3), the one of Opus 52, and one from Opus 90 (No. 4). Of these, the two with the worst printer's errors are the two from Opus 49: in the C minor, most of the errors are minor and easy to correct, but a whole measure was dropped from the first violin part, the contents of which fortunately could be at least playably guessed at given the initiating nature of the phrase in the measure that precedes it. With the B flat, however, the situation is even worse – and it will take a fair amount of effort just to fully identify the locations of all the lapses. The players struggled admirably through the material, the first and last two movements proving to be more readily playable than the slow second movement. And technically the B flat is less demanding than the C Major, but with the errors in the former it proved more difficult to play.

The question this all raises is: with such egregious mistakes in Opus 49, why did Reicha let Breitkopf and Hartel go ahead and print Opp. 52 & 58? One can only imagine Reicha getting a little hysterical when he got Opus 49 back from the printer's. I know I would have! The answer is suggested by Opus 52 itself: of all the quartets so far played, Opus 52 has the fewest errors. Reicha must have demanded, and received, from B & H the right to supervise the editing and engraving process much more closely than on the earlier sets.

Of the B flat quartet, these brief thoughts: the opening movement is lyrical, fairly traditional – though Reicha, as always, gets in his twists. Slow movement: Dvořák 70 years early. Minuet: in memory I hear the fading echo of a single phrase, a unison stomp startling both for the textural contrast it creates with, and the remoteness of its harmonic veering from, the call-and-response that surrounds it. The finale is another fugue, demented circus music; Rich said it reminded him of the theme from an Albrechtsberger fugue for violin and cello. Given the fact that, in the 36 piano fugues Reicha completed around the same time as his first quartets, he several times subjected themes from his predecessors' works to his new fugal procedures, it wouldn't surprise me if the fugue theme here is the Albrechtsberger.

Franz Schubert and the Reicha C minor Quartet
Sunday, 4 October 1998

Three quartet readings/rehearsals in the last week – a week ago Sunday, Monday night, and Saturday morning – and their next rehearsal is tomorrow night. They're digging in deep, and liking it.

The one thing I'll mention is first violinist John Kim's thrice-made comment on the C minor: in the course of their first read-through, once during a breakdown and twice between movements, John said, "This sounds like Franz Schubert!" The latter two times he actually played the relevant passages from the Reicha: a rhythmical figure in the first case, a melodic shape in the second. My jaw dropped: honestly, in three-plus hearings, the Schubert resemblance simply hadn't occurred to me, yet having John provide specific musical illustrations made it so obvious it hurt!

And it was suddenly clear as day that the Schubert family's quartet readings during the second decade of the 19th century must have included the first eight published quartets of Antoine Reicha (recall that the last twelve published quartets didn't start appearing in print until 1820, but the first eight – including the C minor – were all in print no later than 1808). All in a flash I was absolutely certain that Schubert knew those eight quartets intimately. The thing about it is this: the rhythmical and melodic figures John quoted are so dead-on characteristic of late Schubert, and they are figures so completely and exclusively associated with Schubert, that I can't help but wonder whether John's discovery constitutes the first demonstrable antecedent to musical gestures heretofor thought to be wholly Schubert's invention. Mind you, the quartet as a whole does not sound like Schubert – just certain rather prominent features of it.

The Finale of the C minor Quartet
Monday, 19 October 1998

From a letter to violinist John Kim:

About the Finale of the Reicha C minor: the phrasing of the principal theme – the melodic hook that's tossed back and forth between the first violin and the cello – is crucial, I think. I urge you to devote an extra amount of time to exploring its articulation. May I make bold, in the spirit of exploration? I don't have the parts to hand, but the first two notes – one long, one short, tied together – must soar, while the answering phrase is a tumble of (mostly? or wholly?) untied notes: a tumbling fall, a tumbling rise. If you think of the forward momentum of the Allegro as being a wave, then the rhythmic locus, whatever tempo is decided upon, should be situated past the crest, down the wave's far slope, close to the foamy lip: a rhythm that is always about to crash but never quite crashes, a rhythm that is almost out of control in its head-long rush.

Announcing the Vranitzky String Quartet
Wednesday, 21 October 1998

I'm delighted to announce the debut recital of the Vranitzky String Quartet on Friday, 20 November 1998 at 8 p.m., at the Church of the Ascension, 2330 Viewmont Way West, in the Magnolia neighborhood of Seattle USA. The members are: John Kim & Hyekyung Seo, violins; Thane Lewis, viola; Rich Eckert, cello. Their program for the first recital is as follows:

Joseph Haydn: String Quartet No. 23 in F minor, Opus 20, No. 5
Pavel Vranitzky: String Quartet No. 15 in B Flat Major, Opus 15, No. 3
Anton Reicha: String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Opus 49, No. 1

The Reicha quartet performance will be a 20th century premiere.

The String Quartet in A Major, Opus 58
Thursday, 29 October 1998

I have now heard the first two-thirds of the (very long) opening movement of the Opus 58 quartet. It was at the tail-end of a rehearsal, we all had lost track of the time, and a piano lesson needed to be taught in the space we were in – so Reicha was interrupted mid-phrase: even after a century's silence, the poor man still can't get his tongue untied! Anyway, what I heard (7-odd minutes of music) was gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! Talk about romantic! More than any of the other five quartets I've heard, the A major sounded like the very model, the very archetype, of the lushly sensuous late-19th century Romantic string quartet! And even through those forward-looking features, I also distinctly detected, for the first time, the influence of the Vranitzky brothers' idiosyncratic concertante quartet writing on Anton Reicha! Meaning all four instruments have these elaborate, incredibly beautiful solos, and the sum's sole musical discourse rolls from player to player to player with such elegance and passion and singularity and – ah god I'm making myself drool here. I wish I could hear this music now!

The Affirmation of Other Listeners
Wednesday, 25 November 1998

The concert on Friday went superbly. About 70 people came, the quartet knocked itself out, people loved it! There was no doubt as to where the audience stood on Vranitzky and Reicha – they loved them both! I swear, I have never attended a chamber music recital where the audience was so palpably happy, so positively aglow at the end, than at the Vranitzky Quartet's debut. A marvelous experience. The Reicha is truly stunning – the finale in particular just blew us all away. A great performance!

We had a reception afterwards, and the good energy was extraordinary – the players received countless compliments and thank-yous. What vindication! You work in isolation for so long, occasionally scratching your head and wondering if you're crazy, and then a roomful of people cheer the music and make it emphatically clear that you're on the right track – god, what a blessing that is. (At least three friends came up to me after and said "Wow, Ron, you're not crazy after all!")

A Creative Engagement
Monday, 8 February 1999

Now more than ever, I am convinced that Reicha's quartets, as a group, rank with the finest quartet outputs in the history of the genre. And it is becoming clear to me that Beethoven in Opus 59 is, among other things, responding to Reicha's two stand-alone quartets, Opp. 52 & 58, published the year before. These two men were in daily contact during this time, and there can be no doubt that Reicha's Opp. 52 & 58, published in 1805, were the most radically experimental string quartets ever published up till that time. The Razumovskys, published in 1807, superseded that radicalness in their own unique ways, but this creative engagement between the two men was not about imitation or one-upmanship but about divergence: the influence of each man on the other served to drive them away from one another, each more intensively into his own chosen creative territory. Both were radical experimenters, and the glory is that they explored such radically different territory. Beethoven's discoveries are well-known, Reicha's all but unknown. The work of restoring Reicha's string quartets to the repertoire can potentially contribute a revelatory new light on the period, on the intricacies of the creative engagement between the two men, and on Reicha's importance as a composer in his own right.

The Story So Far
Wednesday, 12 April 2000

The members of the Vranitzky String Quartet are all busy professional musicians. All of them were well along their chosen career paths at the time of the recital in November 1998, paths they were not collectively willing to alter in order to develop and maintain a professional string quartet ensemble. That they were willing to commit to the recital they did perform – with only a modest financial return – is a testament to their enthusiasm for the music. It was a privilege and an honor to work with them.

Unless they are institutionally supported, string quartets are generally not financially viable entities. This is a genuinely sorry state of affairs.

In the spring of 1999, a single informal string quintet reading was held in Thane Lewis's living room. Among the works played that afternoon were the first two movements of Anton Reicha's String Quintet in F Major, Opus 92, No. 1. Unfortunately, I did not take notes. What stands out in my memory a year on is the minuet, which was bizarre in the extreme: the opening figure was of precisely the sort one would expect at a movement's conclusion, and a weird one at that. The whole constantly set up and then undermined expectations – one never knew what to expect next! The reason the players did not carry on with the rest of the quintet was the inherent difficulty of reading the 180-year-old parts: though clear enough for transcription, for reading purposes they were, quite frankly, a pain in the ass. This problem holds true for most old musical parts, which points up the need for the creation of modern scores and parts for Reicha's quartets and quintets.

What's happened since? The parts for four of Reicha's string quartets are now in the hands of at least one professional string quartet ensemble with well-received recordings to its credit; they are currently seeking funding to support the acquisition of the others, and time to study them. If that funding is forthcoming, a CD of selected Reicha quartets may follow. The whole process is frustratingly slow, though my own hope is that patience will win out – that the day will soon come when string quartet ensembles around the world will actively explore and record a truly extraordinary body of previously unknown string quartet literature.

As for what might go on an initial CD of Reicha's quartets, these thoughts: Two of the twenty published quartets are stand-alones, published one to an opus number – the Grand Quartet in C Major, Opus 52, and the String Quartet in A major, Opus 58. As their publication in isolation would suggest, in terms of quality these two works appear to rank highly in Reicha's quartet output over all. Taken together, they may be of sufficiently large dimensions to comfortably fill a single disc. If they do leave space for a third quartet, the natural choice, to my mind, would be the String Quartet in C Minor, Opus 49, No. 1 – an extraordinarily compelling work. So that would be one possible line-up for an initial CD, the C Major and A major and, if there's room, the C minor.

While my ultimate goal is to see Reicha's quartets made widely available, both in printed scores and parts and in multiple recordings, I feel it is crucial that their first appearance on CD be in performances and recordings of the highest quality. Some contemporary quartet ensembles that are capable of being particularly fine advocates of this repertoire: L'Archibudelli, Quatuor Mosaiques, the Prazak Quartet, the Leipzig Quartet, the Martinů Quartet, the Mannheim Quartet, the Vertavo Quartet, the Sorrel Quartet, the Lindsays, the Alexander Quartet, the Colorado Quartet, the Kodály Quartet, the Axelrod Quartet… the list could go on! Come on guys, there's a treasure house here! Now if we could get the Emersons to record these works, the future of Reicha's quartets would be all but assured. But the more the merrier – these are works that not only will support multiple interpretive stances, they well nigh demand them.

The members of the Vranitzky String Quartet deserve the most exuberant of thanks for their hard work and fine playing, for beginning an important process of rediscovery.

I would also like to thank the many fine players who participated in the reading series in the summer of 1998, and the quintet reading in the spring of 1999. Without them, none of this would have been possible. In roughly the order in which they first participated, they are:

Holly Eckert, violin; Phil Nation, violin; Thane Lewis, viola; Rich Eckert, cello; Steve Creswell, violin; Kim Zabelle, violin; Tyler Reilly, violin; Leif Larsen, viola; Marshall Brown, cello; Nathan Medina, violin; Jim Smith, cello; John S. Kim, violin; Hyekyung Seo, violin; Saundrah Humphreys, viola.

Of these folks, I must particularly thank Thane Lewis, for encouragement, untiring logistical support, and for hosting many of the quartet readings; Marshall Brown, who, by pointing out the absence of certain Beethovenian felicities of construction in Reicha's C Minor quartet, encouraged me to further explore and better articulate the unique features of Reicha's compositional style; and Phil Nation, for crucial production support related to the Vranitzky Quartet recital.

Thanks are also due to Michael Morgan, for timely assistance; Wolfgang Rain, for translation; Paul Mitchell and the Church of the Ascension, for hosting the Vranitzky Quartet concert; Martin Anderson, for cheerleading; Helen Callus, for facilitating my continuing research; and Steve Lewis, for letting me drive. And thanks to Dave Lampson, for giving my soundings a home.

Copyright © 1998, 1999, 2000 by Ron Drummond.