Haydn - String Quartet Opus 76, No. 3 'Emperor'
Joseph Haydn's String Quartet In C Major, opus 76 No. 3 gets its nickname from the second movement which is a set of variations on the tune of the Austrian National Anthem God Save Emperor Franz that he had written in 1797. Austria did not actually adopt the anthem until 1847. The anthem was popular early on and was adopted by Germany with a different title and words: Deutschland über Alles. The tune was kept as the anthem of Germany after World War One by the Wiemar Republic, retained as the anthem by Nazi Germany, and is still the national anthem of Germany today.
By the time Haydn wrote Opus 76 he had returned from his triumphant tours of England in 1795 and while he was retained as Kappelmeister at the Esterházy court, it was only on a part time basis. He was now a famous man and after having served his employer for so many years was now free to compose as he wished, and also to accept commissions for works. The Hungarian Count Joseph von Erdödy commissioned the six quartets of opus 76 and was the dedicatee. For this reason the set is also known as the Erdödy Quartets.
String Quartet Opus 76, No. 3 In C Major is in 4 movements:
I. Allegro - The first theme is heard straight away, and after a few bars the theme changes to a dotted rhythm. The last part of the theme resembles the opening, and after a short transition the second theme in G major is heard. The exposition is repeated. The development begins with the dotted rhythm of the first theme and a dialog between the instruments constructed around a fragment of the beginning of the first theme. Then the viola and cello alternate playing two-note chords at the distance of a fifth while the violins play an extended variant of the dotted rhythm of the first theme which gives the impression of a village dance tune. The recapitulation repeats the two themes with the modulation of the second theme to the tonic, C major. After the recapitulation Haydn has the development and recapitulation repeated. After that the second ending of the section brings the movement to a close in C major.
II. Poco adagio, cantabile - The movement is in G major, the theme is God Save The Emperor Franz and Haydn writes 4 variations on it.
III. Menuetto, Allegro - The minuet is in C major, the trio is in A minor.
IV. Finale, Presto - The finale begins in C minor, and after the exposition, development and recapitulation, the themes finally modulate to C major in the coda.
Haydn composed his Op. 74 quartets in the later years of his life between 1796 and 1797 and it was the last of his completed string quartets. The set of quartets were dedicated to the Hungarian Count Joseph Erdödy and were published in 1799. It was said that this selection of quartets was one of his “most ambitious chamber works” with his attempt of “emphasizing thematic continuity, seamlessly and continually passing motifs from one instrument to another” 1. The fourth of these quartets is nicknamed “Sunrise”. This is due to the exquisite rising theme heard in the first violin part at the beginning of the first movement from bar one to bar four as seen in Figure…show more content…
Bar ninety-one displays the reintroduction of the four quaver motif that first appeared in bar sixty. It also appears in bar 100, which can be observed in Figure 5. Figure 5 also shows us another motif that has appeared which first appears in bar ninety-eight in the second violin and viola parts. This motif is formed up of five quavers followed by a quavers rest and another quaver. This motif is first heard in bar sixty and sixty-two, but it is not until bar ninety-eight where it stands out and further develops. The first variation of this motif can be seen in Figure 5 in bar ninety-nine in the first violin part. The first of the five quavers has been removed and the last of the five quavers has been delayed by a quaver rest in front of it, which in itself delays the next quaver. This means the last two quavers of the motif is on off beats. The next variation of the motif is in bar 104 in both the second violin part and the viola part. Similar to the first violin variation the first of the five quavers has been removed but the rest of the motif is without any change. This is the last motif before returning back to the recapitulation. As expected the recapitulation has the reinstatement of the sunrise theme, which therefore includes the reintroduction of motif ‘x’, ‘y’ and ‘z’. There does not seem to be any new motifs that appear in this section as expected due to the fact this section is very close to a repetition of the exposition. The movement finishes with the