Chant du Ménestrel for Cello and Piano, Op.71
Chant du Ménestrel (song of the Minnesingers) was composed in 1901 and dedicated to Alexander Wierzbilowicz solo cellist to the Tsar and a Professor at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The work was originally for cello and orchestra but a version cello and piano was made by the composer and published simultaneously. The minnesingers were 12th and 13th century German poet-musicians, roving the countryside singing of courtly love, and were descended from their French counterparts, the troubedours. The music is sad and highly romantic, taking fine advantage of the cello’s singing qualities.
Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) was born in St. Petersburg, the son of a wealthy book publisher. He began studying piano at the age of nine and started composing not long after. In 1879, he began studies with Rimsky- Korsakov. Glazunov’s progress was so fast that within two years, Korsakov considered Glazunov more of a junior colleague than a student. Between 1895 and 1914, Glazunov was widely regarded, both inside and out, as Russia’s greatest living composer. His works include symphonies, ballets, operas and seven string quartets in addition to various instrumental sonatas.