Förster: String Quartets

String Quartets of Emanuel Aloys Förster
Emanuel Aloys Förster (1748–1823) was among the most significant composers of Viennese chamber music at the turn of the nineteenth century. The three sets of six string quartets that he published are exemplary works in the genre at that time, fine examples of the intellectually and emotionally engaging nature of classical string quartets. Yet these works are not part of the standard chamber music repertoire, nor are they much discussed by musicologists, except in terms of the supposed “influence” between Förster and Beethoven. Thus our assessment of this important composer in general, and his contributions to Viennese string quartet culture around 1800 in particular, is hampered by a narrowness of vision. These new editions of Förster’s three published sets of string quartets—op. 7 (published 1794), op. 16 (1798), and op. 21 (1803)—will help to round out the modern view: together these works demonstrate Förster’s polished compositional technique and command of the expressive resources of the instruments.
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