Bernhard Molique (1802-1869)

Thu, 01/22/2015 - 3:43pm -- anonymous

Violinist and composer Bernhard Molique (1802-1869) was born into an amateur musical family in Nuremburg, Germany. His father was a non-salaried town musician who tutored the child prodigy on various instruments, most importantly the violin which the young Molique gravitated towards; so much so that at the age of 14 he was briefly tutored by the then-renowned violinist and composer Louis Spohr. This giant of the early 19th century European concert circuit became a compositional loadstar for Molique who quickly became known for an adherance towards ‘absolute’ (non-programmatic) music, composed in a conservative (for the time period) ‘classical’ style while at the same time bridging these traditional forms to the nascent Romantic movement; in fact, Molique became an early active supporter, friend and patron of the über-Romantic-era pianist Hans Von Bülow. You can clearly hear the ghost of early/mid-Beethoven and later Mozart in the quartets that make up Molique’s op. 18 set, recorded on a CPO two-volume release by the Mannheim Quartet and available at the Redwood for a 14 day loan (MC.Quar MOLI.B 2005 & 2009). These little gems shimmer with sprightly thematic material shared equally among the four instruments. There is no lush wash of glissandi; no unanchored, meandering themes, nor any preformed, metaphorical attributes linked to the same; rather, these are tightly structured pieces composed in the 18th century 'Mannheim' tradition accentuated by graceful roundabouts of quaint Romantic flourishes. This is most especially evident in first movement of the F minor, op. 28 Quartet (also included on this disk) which quickly veers into a somewhat melancholic development and recapitulation of multiple and partial thematic lines. Sounding more like Mendelsohn than Haydn, the op. 28 is certainly the most ‘romantic’-sounding piece among the four recorded here but none the worse for it.

To listen to more Molique, members can login to the Naxos music database and consult the playlist “Bernhard Molique”. There you will be able to stream his Violin Concerto #3 and #6, his Flute Concerto, Oboe Concertino, as well as a quartet from the Op. 18 set and the romantic-sounding Op. 28.  Please contact the Library for username and password at

 Happy listening!