String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.35
String Quartet No.1, composed in 1890, was, for its time, very forward looking and original. Rather surprisingly, it received great acclaim when premiered. Hailed as a masterpiece, Chausson wrote to D’Indy, “all France honors you.”
Vincent d’Indy (1851-1931) was born of aristocratic stock. His musical talent was recognized by his grandmother who raised him and saw that he received piano lessons from famous teachers. Despite this, he was sent to law school in Paris. Instead, D’Indy, who was intent on becoming a composer, joined a Parisian orchestra as a timpanist to learn music “from the ground up.” Both Massenet and Bizet were impressed by his early compositions and encouraged him to show his work to César Franck. Franck did not share their enthusiasm and was reputed to have told D’Indy, “You have ideas but you cannot do anything.” Apparently those ideas were enough, however, to convince Franck to show D’Indy how to do things, as he took the latter on as a pupil. Though D’Indy was to assimilate and be influenced by many different sources, Franck and his music left the most telling mark on him. D’Indy’s reputation, during his own lifetime was considerable, having founded, in 1900, what was to become the most important music school in France after the Paris Conservatory—The Schola Cantorum.
The Quartet shows the influence of Beethoven and his teacher Franck. The use of a motto reminds one of Franck while the technique of using small phrases which are full of possibilities is reminiscent of Beethoven. All four movements begin slowly. The opening movement, Lent et soutenu-Modérément animé, gives out the motto in several forms and it becomes the kernel for all of the themes in the movement as well as the coda. The slow second movement, Lente et calme, is very poetic in its conception. The third movement, Assez Modéré, begins like an intermezzo but gives way to an atmospheric and modern sounding scherzo. The finale, Assez lent-Vif, after its slow introduction, leads to a series of jaunty themes almost neo-classical in style.
Long out of print and unavailable we are pleased to reintroduce a masterwork from the late French Romantic era. It deserves a place in the concert hall and amateurs will also find it a wonderful work to play.
Parts & Score: $33.95