String Quartet in a minor, Op.13
The String Quartet in a minor by Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov was completed in 1896. The opening movement might well have been a tribute to Tchaikovsky and certainly shows that composer's influence. It begins with a substantial Lento introduction, somewhat sad and searching. It leads to the main part of the movement, a restless Allegro. The second theme in which the first violin and viola bring forth a lengthy melody over a moving line in the second and pizzicato in the cello, is particularly striking and effective. Next comes a nervous Humoresque-scherzando. The third movement is a lovely Intermezzo, allegro grazioso. Here, the cello pizzicato backdrop serves as guitar-like accompaniment to attractive melody in the upper voices. The finale is a thrusting and energetic Allegro risoluto.
Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov (1859-1935) was born in the town of Gatchina, near St. Petersburg. He studied composition with Rimsky-Korsakov at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. After graduating, he obtained the position of Director of the Tiflis (Tbilisi) Music Academy. He spent the next seven years in the Georgian capital, also holding the post of conductor of the city's orchestra. It was during this time that he developed his life-long interest in the music of the Georgian region and many of his compositions reflect this, the most famous being his Caucasian Sketches. In 1893, he became a professor at the Moscow Conservatory and later served as its director for two decades. He composed in all genres.
This is another good work from the Russian Romantic movement, well-worth hearing in the concert hall and a good work form amateurs as well. It has been unavailable now for many years and we are pleased to make it available once again.