Notes and Editorial Reviews
String Quartets: No. 1 in B?; No. 2 in G; No. 5 in E?
LA MA DE GUIDO 2093 (61:04)
For a neglected composer with no entry in
, let alone Wikipedia, Josep Teixidor i Barceló (1752–c.1811) wrote string quartets of surprisingly high quality. This disc of three quartets from a set of six appears to be the only recording of any of his music. From the booklet notes written by Miguel Simarro, the first violinist of the
Munich-based Cambini Quartet, in a garbled translation, we learn that Teixidor came from the Lleida region of Spain, was appointed as court organist in Madrid in 1774, taught, and was a theorist and music historian. His quartets were most likely composed during the last decade of the 18th century. The quartets’ sometimes elaborate first-violin and cello parts reflect his acquaintance with the virtuosity of instrumentalist/composers such as the violinists Viotti and Rode, and the cellists Romberg and Duport. He knew the work of Spanish and European keyboard composers—Mozart and C. P. E. Bach among them—but the main influence is clearly that of Haydn, the characteristics and procedures of whose mature string quartets Teixidor used as a model with greater depth than Boccherini did, although Teixidor certainly sounds like Boccherini.
It’s the first movement of the Quartet No. 1, the largest and most distinctive of the three recorded here, that best exemplifies Teixidor’s absorption of Haydn’s style. At the opening, he uses the musical equivalent of humorous spoken “asides” to create interest in the phrase structure. (There’s a brief, throbbing drone in the viola at the start of the development section, a nice bit of Spanish color, but the only such moment in any of these quartets.) Like Haydn’s slow movements, the Adagio is compact and achieves some intensity of expression. Teixidor’s minuets are sturdy and varied. (I seem to remember a comment by Roger Sessions that while recovering from an operation, he had studied the scores of Haydn’s approximately 80 string quartets and marveled that each minuet was different from every other one.) It’s in the rather long finale that Teixidor’s themes lack Haydn’s pithiness, and so, the movement is comparatively diffuse.
The Cambini Quartet is a period-instrument group. It plays deftly, with good intonation, and observes all repeats. The characteristic thinness of tone and treble-oriented sound of these instruments becomes, at least for me, a little monotonous over the course of three quartets. One of these pieces would make a welcome, novel opening to a concert by a modern string quartet. The sound of the disc, on La mà de Guido, a label with more than 100 recordings of mostly obscure Spanish music, is nice and clear.
FANFARE: Paul Orgel
Works on This Recording
String Quartet No. 4 in G major by Josep Teixidor
Venue: Stephanuskirche (Munic)
Length: 15 Minutes 26 Secs.
Be the first to review this title