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Robert Schumann » String Quartets » Heckmann, Robert - Pohle

Robert Heckmann was leader of an admired quartet, based in Cologne, which also travelled widely, visiting Britain several times in the 1880s and early 1890s. Heckmann worked closely with Grieg on the preparation  of his String Quartet op. 27 and received its dedication. (See Bjarne Kortsen 'Grieg's String Quartet and Robert Heckmann' Music and Letters 49(1968), 21-28.)

The quartet's performances of Schumann were admired. In 1885 The Musical World (63. 10, Mar. 7, p. 154) commented that 'scarcely had [they] played the opening bars of Schumann's Quartet than something out of the ordinary playing made itself felt, the fire and precision, together with the knowledge of what one instrument expected its neighbour to do in poetry, made everything more or less satisfactory [...] Herr Heckmann, at all events, proved himself a governor of versatility, which nothing could exhibit to better advantage than the works just named.' And in 1888 the same journal (68. 48, Dec. 8, p. 931) praised their performance of Schumann's quartet op. 41 no. 3 as 'played with those wonderful nuances and that intelligence of phrasing which have made the Heckmann Quartet famous.'

In its detailed fingering and bowing markings, Heckmann's edition of the Schumann String Quartets op. 41 stands in sharp contrast to Hermann's edition of them. His markings conjure up a vivid impression of the style of performance in which his quartet must have performed the works at that time. They also reveal a close correspondence with early recordings by the Klingler Quartet and even, as late as the 1930s, with those of the Prague Quartet. This is noticeable in bowing style and also the employment of portamento.

Unusually for a quartet edition at this period, all four parts are marked with similar attention to detail. Even though no additional musician is named, the cello part includes a substantial number of fingerings where expressive gestures are expected.

The three quartets were published separately with consecutive plate numbers.

CB

Composer Robert Schumann
Work String Quartets
Title Drei Quartette
Publisher Pohle
City Hamburg
Date 1887 (January) [Source: Hofmeister - March 1887]
Publication Number
Instrumentation String Quartet – 2 Violins · 1 Viola · 1 Cello
Partly Recomposed No

Parts

Part Plate No. Medium Annotations Musical Text(s)
Title page Printed
Vl1 682 (op.44 no.1) Printed Printed
Vl1 683 (op.44 no.2) Printed Printed
Vl1 684 (op.44 no.3) Printed Printed
Vl2 682 (op.44 no.1) Printed Printed
Vl2 683 (op.44 no.2) Printed Printed
Vl2 684 (op.44 no.3) Printed Printed
Vla 682 (op.44 no.1) Printed Printed
Vla 683 (op.44 no.2) Printed Printed
Vla 684 (op.44 no.3) Printed Printed
Vlc 682 (op.44 no.1) Printed Printed
Vlc 683 (op.44 no.2) Printed Printed
Vlc 684 (op.44 no.3) Printed Printed