String Quartet No. 3 (Brahms)

The String Quartet No. 3 in B major, Op. 67, was composed by Johannes Brahms in the summer of 1875 and published by the firm of Fritz Simrock.[1] It received its premiere performance on October 30, 1876 in Berlin.[2] The work is scored for two violins, viola, and cello, and has four movements:

  1. Vivace (B-flat major)
  2. Andante (F major)
  3. Agitato (Allegretto non troppo) — Trio — Coda (D minor)
  4. Poco Allegretto con Variazioni (B-flat major)

Brahms composed the work in Ziegelhausen, near Heidelberg, and dedicated it to Professor Theodor Wilhelm Engelmann, an amateur cellist who had hosted Brahms on a visit to Utrecht. Brahms was at the time the artistic director of the Vienna Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde.[1][2] The work is lighthearted and cheerful, "a useless trifle", as he put it, "to avoid facing the serious countenance of a symphony", referring to the work on his Symphony No. 1 which debuted a week later.[1]

The irony to this quartet is that although the quartet is dedicated to Engelmann, who is a cellist, throughout the entire quartet, there is no cello melody; the violins would have a melody throughout the piece and in the third movement, the Agitato, the melody of the movement is mainly played by a viola instead of the cello. In a letter about the quartet to Engelmann, Brahms said "This quartet rather resembles your wife—very dainty, but brilliant! ...It's no longer a question of a forceps delivery; but of simply standing by. There’s no cello solo in it, but such a tender viola solo that you may want to change your instrument for its sake!".[3]


  1. ^ a b c Geiringer, Karl (1984). Brahms: His Life and Work. New York: Da Capo Press. pp. 119, 234–5. ISBN 0-306-80223-6.
  2. ^ a b "Klassika: Johannes Brahms (1833–1897): Streichquartett Nr. 3" (in German). Klassika, die deutschsprachigen Klassikseiten. Retrieved 2009-07-18.
  3. ^ "String Quartet in B flat major, Op 67 (Brahms) - from CDA67552 - Hyperion Records - MP3 and Lossless downloads". Retrieved 2 October 2017.

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