Price: $250.00


Phone: 212-860-5541 


Unusual, scarce, important and historic Fritz Meyeke of Cologne carte de visite photograph of the composer and violinist, October, 1878 at the time of the World Premiere of Grieg’s Sting Quartet no. 1.

Grieg (1843-1907) experimented with the string quartet form as early as 1860, however he completed only one string quartet written between 1877 and 1878.  A second quartet was attempted, but only two movements were completed.  The work was completed in July, with the technical assistance of the German violinist, Robert Heckmann (1848-1891). Heckmann had studied with Ferdinand David at the Leipzig Conservatory and was the Concertmaster from 1872-1875 of the famed Gürzenich Orchestre Köln.  Heckmann formed his own string quartet which bore his name in 1875, with Theodore Allekotte 2nd violin, Otto Forberg viola and Richard Bellman cello.  Alberto Bachmann describes the Heckmann Quartet in his 1925 book,  An Encyclopedia of the Violin as, ...one of the finest organizations in the world, demonstrating conclusively how perfect ensemble can be obtained by the constant association of the same players in rehearsal.

Grieg was introduced to Heckmann via his friend, compatriot and composer Johan Svenden who had been a classmate of Heckmann’s in Leipzig.  Grieg wrote to Svenden in June of 1878, I have recently finished a string quartet which I still haven't heard...the composer wrote to a friend in the summer of 1878. It is in G minor and not planned to be meat for small minds! It aims at breadth, vigor, flight of imagination, and, above all, fullness of tone for the instruments for which it is written…. The introduction was made and the score was sent to Heckmann.  Grieg wrote to Heckmann on July 4th, 1878, I can see your face when you received the second page filled with notes! But to begin with: The first page comprises the whole Andante movement and– well, other than that I have nothing to say in my defense.  It was something I have been displeased with all along and now that I have seen your interest the desire has reawakened in me to make the things ads good as possible…..I for my part am very happy today over the change.  The composer then goes on to describe various changes hoping Heckmann at that point would agree that it was ready to go to Edition Peters, his publisher.  However, that was not the case, as on July 22nd, Grieg sent Heckmann a newly revised manuscript and asked him to forward it on to the publisher after her reviewed it to Peters in Leipzig.  The premiere took place in Cologne in October, 1878.  Grieg attended the performance and it was at that time our photograph was taken.  Interestingly, On December 16, Grieg writes to Heckmann again, I thought the concert at the Gewandhaus had been a decisive success-and in my naiveté, I had already sent a telegram to my wife….But you will be surprised when you hear the Quartet is going to be published by Fritzsch.  Peters had rejected the Quartet with the thought that Grieg would revise it shortly after the printing into a piano quartet.  He then went to another Leipzig publisher E. W. Fritszch for the initial publication.  After the piece was an international success did Peters come up with their own printing for Grieg.

Quotations from Grieg’s letters to Heckmann come from Edvard Grieg Letters to Colleagues and Friends, edited by Finn Benestad and translated by William H. Halverson, Peer Gynt Press, Columbus, Ohio, 2000.