Three Pieces for Cello and Piano, Op.56
Arensky's Op.56 consisted originally of four pieces for cello and piano. They were not composed at the same time but over a six year period between 1894 and 1900 and were brought out by his Moscow publisher, Jurgensen in 1902. The pieces really are not related, but each is a character piece. For this reason, they were published separately and not as a group. The first of the set originally titled Chant de Printemps became better known as Air Orientale. It has the quality of a Spanish folk dance. The second work, Romance, is melancholy in mood and clearly influenced his student Rachmaninov. The third work, Chanson triste, is just that, a sad song with simple piano accompaniment. They are presented here, for the first time, as a collected group.
Anton Arensky (1861-1906) was born in Novgorod but his family moved to St. Petersburg while he was still relatively young. His first piano lessons were from his mother. He entered the Petersburg Conservatory in 1879 and three years later graduated with high honors. Among his principal teachers was Rimsky-Korsakov. He subsequently taught at the Moscow Conservatory where he befriended and was influenced by Tchaikovsky and Sergei Taneyev.