String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.1
“String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.1 was composed sometime in 1881 and
premiered the following year. It is dedicated to Madame Ludmilla Schestakov,
maiden name Glinka. She was Mikhail Glinka’s sister. To put this work into its
historical context, we must consider that Glazunov had more or less finished his
formal studies with Rimsky-Korsakov. The Russian National school of composing,
founded by Balakirev and his followers, was approaching its zenith. The quartet
begins with an introduction, Andantino moderato, which is closely related to the
main theme of the following Allegro moderato. The treatment of the main theme is
quite plastic. Of particular note is the use of fifths in the accompaniment of
the cheerful melodies, especially the second theme. This was a technique of
which Korsakov and his students were particularly fond. It undeniably helps to
create an exotic oriental atmosphere to which the Russians were attracted.
Rather than placing a slow movement next, Glazunov opts for a lively Scherzo,
vivace. The brisk, main theme recalls Schumann. The second theme, provides a
good contrast. Glazunov omits writing a trio and contents himself with
alternating these two subjects several times, ending with the 2nd theme. The
following Andante serves as the slow movement. It is perhaps based on a
folksong. The main subject of the finale, Moderato, also has the appearance of
being based on a Russian folk melody. The second theme is more lyrical and
relieves the angular rhythmic quality of the first. Here, Glazunov lavishes
considerable effort on the working out of the themes. Of note, is the excellent
part-writing for each voice. To sum up, the quartet is an appealing work which
surely will be of interest to amateurs and also merits a concert performance.
Certainly, it was a fine effort for a 17 year old composer.”—–Moise Shevitovsky
writing in The Chamber Music Journal
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, during his lifetime, 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.
This quartet will appeal both to amateurs and professionals.
Parts & Score: $31.95