All but forgotten are the name and music of performer and composer Bernhard Molique. In his lifetime (1802-1869), he was active as a gifted violin virtuoso and pedagogue, though many of his contemporaries were either ardent admirers or fervent critics. His rather extensive catalog of compositions, ranging from small chamber works to a symphony, is perhaps even less remembered today than his contributions as a violinist. This CPO album presents the third volume of the composer's string quartets, which may number as high as 13, though the exact quantity is unknown. Performed by the Mannheim String Quartet, this volume programs the First and Second quartets, two highly contrasting compositions to be sure. The first, in G major, is a classically rooted work that is decidedly unmemorable. Already by his Second Quartet, however, Molique developed a much more interesting voice. This time in C minor, Molique makes much more use of counterpoint, particularly in the quartet's outer movements. The inner movements, particularly the rather long Andante, are not as gripping or engaging as those of many of Molique's contemporaries, but his early quartets are still worth hearing for those interested in expanding their repertoire from this era. The Mannheim Quartet's performances are technically polished and as musically interesting as could be hoped for.
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AllMusic Review by Mike D. Brownell
|String Quartet No. 1 in G major, Op. 16|
|String Quartet No. 2 in C minor, Op. 17|