String Quartet No.4 in a minor, Op.64
"String Quartet No.4 in a minor, Op.64 was composed in 1894 and published around 1899. It was dedicated to his friend, the prominent music critic Vladimir Stasov. The opening movement, Andante-Allegro, begins with a series of very sad chords, which are made more dramatic by a surprise accent and downward chromatic passages. The main theme is both powerful and passionate, while the second theme more lyrical. The slow movement, an Andante, is a fine example of Glazunovís mature style. Though it starts with an aura of blissful peace, as the movement progresses there are waves of surging energy followed by releases which softly die away. Frequent changes of tempo and dynamics also create a sense of unease. Next is a brilliant and exciting Scherzo vivace, very Russian in flavor, it is a kind of perpetuum mobile. The short trio section has a lovely melody, also quite Russian, given to the cello. Played by itself, this movement would make a tremendous encore. It really is perfect in every way. The finale, an Allegro, begins with a series of desolate chords, which though not an exact quote, are very similar to those of the opening of the first movement. The gloomy mood quickly gives way to a series of flowing and bright melodies, some energetic and dance-like, others lyrical and poetic."----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. Glazunovís 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 Russiaís greatest living composer. His works include symphonies, ballets, operas and seven string quartets in addition to various instrumental sonatas.
This is a major work which belongs in the concert repertoire as well as on the stands of amateurs.
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