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Luigi Cherubini » Trois Quatuors

Cherubini's first three quartets were published simultaneously from the same plates by Kistner in Leipzig and Pacini in Paris in 1836. Although the title page does not refer specifically to an editor, the quartets bear the dedication 'composée et dédié a son ami Baillot'. Baillot is also known to have been intimately involved during the process of composition of the quartets (Eugène Sauzay and Brigitte François-Sappey, 'La vie musicale a Paris a travers les Mémoires d'Eugène Sauzay (1809-1901)' Revue de Musicologie T. 60e, No. 1er/2e (1974), pp. 159-210). It seems probable, therefore that, as with the Richault edition of Beethoven's Violin Concerto, fingering and bowing had been supplied by Baillot (perhaps, in both cases, these were performance markings which he had entered into the manuscript material from which the edition was engraved). The copy presented here belonged to Ferdinand David and contains his numerous MS markings in quartets 1 and 3. He appears not to have performed no. 2 although it contains a few markings in the orange crayon that is also occasionally seen in the other two quartets, usually overwritten in pencil, suggesting that these orange markings represent a very early phase of his work on the quartets. David signed each part on the front cover and again on the tile page of Violin 1 and 2. David's markings, including cuts in the Larghetto of No. 1, appear in all four parts, though more infrequently in the lower three. Despite his care over certain things, such as dynamics and tempo variations, it is evident that the bowing in these frequently used parts was never brought into the kind of uniformity that would now be expected in professional quartet performances. The violin 2 and vla parts contain a small number of markings by players; the cello part contains many more bowings and fingerings by one or possibly two of the cellists who played it with David, but here too, the bowing is often not aligned with that of the 1st violin. The E flat quartet, no. 1, seems to have been a favourite with Leipzig audiences and was played eleven times by David in Gewandhaus concerts (21:2:1848, 13:1:1852, 23:2:1854, 25:2:1856, 6:2:1858, 19:2:1860, 16:11:1861, 3:1:1863, 26:11:1864, 29:3:1867, and 27:2:1869). In this quartet the numerous alterations, especially of bowing, in a combination of orange crayon, two different lead pencils, blue crayon, and ink (in a very few places), undoubtedly reflect these numerous performances and provide a revealing example of David's restless search for effective means of performance rather than stability of interpretation, which is apparent in so many of his surviving performance parts. The D minor quartet, no. 3, played by David just four times in the concert series (25:1:1840, 8:1:1855, 7:1:1859, 16:11:1867), also contains markings in pencil, and orange and blue crayon, though the latter are more frequent in this quartet. These parts, along with those of Mendelssohn's op.12, 13 and 44 string quartets (in the Bodleian Library), and op. 18 String Quintet (in the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin), are particularly revealing items of David's currently known performing material, offering fascinating insights into his approach to the rehearsal and performance of chamber music.


Opus No: without opus number

Editor(s) Title Publisher Publication No. Year
Baillot, Pierre; David, Ferdinand Quartette Kistner / Pacini 1836 View