The Quartet in F minor/F major (VB 178) is part of a set entitled Kraus et Vanhals Qvartetter Op.3, whose sole source is found in the local Lnsmuseum in the northern Swedish town of Hrnsand.
It is listed as No.6/7 in this collection. The source is in the hand of an anonymous Stockholm copyist, who may have been the one who put the collection of two Kraus and two Vanhal quartets together about 1780. The fact that it comes from Hrnsand, the home of Kraus's close friend Carl Stridsberg who he visited there in 1778, is significant, for it may represent a "collection" meant for performance by one of that town's musical groups.
The authenticity is vouchsafed not only by the clear stylistic trademarks, but by its association with the Quartet in C minor (VB 179), whose autograph exists at the Universitetsbibliotek in Uppsala among a separate group of quartets.
Although specific information on time of composition is lacking, it is most likely that this work was written during Kraus's first years in Stockholm 1777-1778.
The quartet consists of two movements, a format common in works in this genre by Richter; a slow first movement characterized by suspensions and flowing themes in F minor, and a scherzo-like F major Allegretto, which features less thematic material than motivic interplay between the soloistic first violin and viola. The result is a playful episode, an anodyne to the seriousness of the first movement.
The edition follows the surviving source as accurately as possible, including articulations, ornamentations and slurrings. Several obvious copyists errors such as the occasional wrong or indistinct note have been corrected tacitly, and the occasionally careless placement of slur ends has been corrected according to parallel passages.No attempt has been made to make some disparate slurrings in the separate parts coincide, given the composer's penchant in other works for individualized part writing. Dynamic markings that are missing, however, have been inserted from the other parts in order to give the work consistency.
Bertil van Boer