Digital resources for French Romantic music

String Quartet No. 2 in F major (Reynaldo Hahn)




Animé – Très mouvementé – Posément. Très modéré – Très vite (à un temps)


Composed during the composer’s exile under the Occupation, first in Toulon then Monte Carlo, the String Quartet No. 2 in F major by Reynaldo Hahn was published by Alphonse Leduc in 1946, and reprinted by them in 2002. It was recorded for the first time in 1999 by the Quatuor Parisii, for Naïve. It was not until late in life that Hahn tackled the string quartet, which he had hitherto regarded as an “incomplete” musical form, preferring ensembles with piano. In his younger years, the composer had even mocked this canonical musical genre in ironic pieces such as Le Carnaval des vieilles poules, composed in 1891 to a libretto by Erik Satie. Two works by Hahn nonetheless contributed to the revival of the string quartet in France, both in terms of composition—Honegger or Milhaud come to mind in particular—and performance—the Quatuors Calvet and Capet helped to popularise a vast repertory for this form during the interwar period. On 12 October 1939, in a letter to his sister, Hahn announced that he had finished his first quartet, in A minor, which was premiered on 1 January 1940. He also told her that he was “making very slow progress” on the composition of a second work. This quartet differed from the first, which was not long, by its large dimensions, recalling the work of César Franck. The second quartet is also different from the first of 1939 by its pursuit of unity, which can be seen in the characteristic economy of means in all movements. Hahn would have liked to write a third quartet: although this project never saw the light of day, this confirms the composer’s change of mind regarding a genre which he had at first deliberately ignored, even ridiculed, but which he ultimately made one of the last vehicles of his musical thought.

    Person - 1
  • HAHN, Reynaldo (1874-1947)
  • Theme - 1
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