String Quartet No.1 in G Major
“Chapi's String Quartet No.1 in G Major was the first attempt of any consequence among Spanish composers to adapt national music to the string quartet medium. It is a breeze from the streets of Madrid and from Spain itself."---The respected Spanish critic and music scholar Pedro Morales.
Ruperto Chapi (1851-1909) was born in the Valencian town of Villena. After studying locally, he entered the Madrid Conservatory subsequently winning a scholarship to study in Paris. Along with Tomas Breton, Chapi is the best known composer of Zarzuela, Spanish light opera. In 1903 Chapi started composing his four string quartets. This was no accident. Throughout the 19th century, few Spanish composers devoted themselves to chamber music, largely due to the fact that there were no local chamber music ensembles. This changed with the formation of the Cuarteto Frances in 1901 in Madrid. This group actively encouraged and comissioned Spanish composers to write quartets. Soon there were works by Breton, Turina, del Campo and Chapi.
Chapi's String Quartet No.1 in G Major dates from 1903. The bright and sunny first movement, Allegro moderato, begins with a lively Habanera type subject. This is followed by a very Spanish theme characterized by its triplets. Interrupting affairs are two short dramatic outbursts. The second movement, Adante mosso, has for its main subject a lovely melody which is contrasted with a paodoble dance which follows. Next comes a Scherzo with Andalusian melodies. The finale opens with a languid introduction which leads to the main part of the movement that features two Spanish dance sections—a Zortzico and a Jota.
This is a wonderful work. You will not find a more Spanish sounding quartet. It truly belongs in concert where it is sure to win friends and is not beyond the range of competent amateur players who will also enjoy it. Long out of print, we are very pleased to reinroduce it to chamber music enthusiasts.