The Book of Genesis, regardless of our faith, is something with which almost all of us in the Western world are familiar—a foundational work of our culture we have read and, we believe, understood. After all, its language, despite its remarkable elegance, is simple. Its powerful sentences are short. And its messages glisten with clarity.
Even though Franz Joseph Haydn is widely credited as the father of the string quartet, the Casal Quartet makes a startling claim that the honor may belong to Franz Xaver Richter, whose seven String Quartets, Op. 5, seem to have determined the character of the genre, from their first performance by Carl Ditters von Dittersdorf's quartet in 1757. Richter's quartets preceded Haydn's and Boccherini's earliest efforts by several years, suggesting that they were likely influential. Furthermore, the sophistication and polish of his Op. 5 suggests that he may well have composed other such quartets, though if he did, they are lost.