String Quartet No.2, Op.8
"Adolf Barjansky's String Quartet No.2, Op.8 appeared in 1894. Sadly, neither music reference books nor Barjansky's publishers provide any information about him. I can recommend this work to chamber music players and it is not terribly difficult from a technical standpoint. The first movement, Allegro appassionato, begins rather like a praeludium. The first subject is full of energy while a second is more lyrical. A warm deeply felt melody serves as the main theme of the second movement, Adagio molto. A rather original sounding and agitated middle section serves as contrast. The Presto ma deciso which comes next is fleet and sections of it are rather like an elves dance. The finale, Allegro assai ed appassionoato is interesting and effective" So wrote Wilhelm Altmann in his Handbook for String Quartet Players."
Very little information is available about Adolf Barjansky (1850-1900, some sources say 1915). He was born in Moscow. What musical training he received in Russia is unknown. Most likely it was at the Odessa Conservatory. However, it is known that he studied composition and piano at the Leipzig Conservatory with Carl Reinecke and Salomon Jadassohn. He also briefly studied in Vienna and Paris Thereafter, he was active in Odessa, where he taught at the conservatory there. He is thought to be the father of the virtuoso cellist Alexandre Barjansky. He has two string quartets to his credit along with a piano trio, a piano quartet and some instrumental sonatas.
Out of print for a century, the appealing work can be recommended to both amateurs and professionals alike. We are pleased to make it available to chamber music lovers once again.