String Quartet (Bruckner)
Anton Bruckner's String Quartet in C minor WAB 111 was written in 1862 as a student exercise for Otto Kitzler, a preliminary to exercises in orchestration. A week after completing the composition, Kitzler tasked with Bruckner with writing a longer Rondo. Though the key and the form are "the same both times," in which "the rondo theme [the A theme] appears four times, enclosing three episodes of which the first and third must be described as lyric groups" and the later Rondo is only slightly longer, the later Rondo has new themes. But Bruckner never intended the new Rondo as a replacement in performance, since he intended neither piece for performance. The later Rondo is sometimes offered as an additional track in recordings.
The piece is a conventional string quartet in the usual four movements:
- Allegro moderato, C minor, common time
- Andante, A-flat major, 3/4, with Minore section in A-flat minor
- Scherzo, Presto G major, 3/4, Trio
- Rondo, Schnell, C minor, 2/4
Unlike his later works, Bruckner gave few indications as to phrasing, while dynamics appear only at a few key points. Rudolf Koeckert allowed Leopold Nowak to put his group's phrasing and dynamics into the Gesamtausgabe parts. However, the Gesamtausgabe score contains only those markings in Bruckner's hand.
The exposition of the first movement is marked for repeat; the only other Bruckner work with such a repeat is the Study Symphony. The Andante mirrors Beethoven's choice of key for a slow movement after a C minor Allegro, but having the central section in the parallel minor is something Bruckner never does again. Biographer Derek Watson finds the Trio of the Scherzo "has a Schubertian, freshly bucolic charm." The Rondo is in ABACABA form, with the B theme first appearing in E-flat major and later in C major, and the last turn of the A theme being highly ornamented.
The Quartet has been recorded a few times, usually coupled with the String Quintet, such as by the Amadeus Quartet. Where the Koeckert Quartet actually disregarded the few dynamics markings Bruckner gave, the Fine Arts Quartet obeys Bruckner's markings but mostly ignores Koeckert's.
- p.  (1985) Nowak
- p. 16 (1996) Watson
- p. 348 (1998) Hawkshaw
- p. 352 (1964) Fairfax
- p. [blank] (1955) Nowak
- p. 176 (2004) Korstvedt
- p. 73 (1996) Watson
- Hawkshaw, Paul (1998) "A Composer Learns His Craft: Anton Bruckner's Lessons in Form and Orchestration", 1861-63", The Musical Quarterly, 82 No. 2
- Fairfax, Bryan (1964) "Unknown Bruckner", The Musical Times, 105, p. 1455
- Korstvedt, Benjamin (2004) "Aspects of Bruckner's approach to symphonic form", The Cambridge Companion to Bruckner edited by Williamson, John, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge
- Nowak, Leopold (1955) Foreword to Anton Bruckner: Sämtliche Werke: Band 13 Teil 1: Streichquartett C-Moll: Studienpartitur Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft. Arnold-Schönfeldt, Christl (translator), Vienna
- Nowak, Leopold (1963) Foreword to Anton Bruckner: Sämtliche Werke: Band 13 Teil 2: Streichquintett F-Dur / Intermezzo D-Moll: Studienpartitur Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft. Rickett, Richard (translator), Vienna
- Nowak, Leopold (1985) Foreword to Anton Bruckner: Sämtliche Werke: Band 12 Teil 1: Rondo C-Moll: Studienpartitur, Musikwissenschaftlicher Verlag der Internationalen Bruckner-Gesellschaft, Hartzell, Eugene (translator), Vienna
- Schönzeler, Hans-Hubert (1978) "Bruckner", Marion Boyars, London.
- Simpson, Robert (1977) The Essence of Bruckner: An essay towards the understanding of his music, Victor Gollancz Ltd, London.
- Watson, Derek (1996) "Bruckner" Schirmer, New York.
- Wellesz, Egon (1938) "Anton Bruckner and the Process of Musical Creation", The Musical Quarterly, 24 No. 3 - Helm, Everett (translator)