String Quartet No.1 in D Major, Op.51
"Charles Koechlin, who today must be considered in the camp of the Modernists and a polytonal writer, at the time he composed his First String Quartet in 1921 was still tonally a traditionalist. The key of the work is D Major. In the pastoral sounding first movement, Allegro moderato, he writes in the time signature of 6/4 + 1/2 and then later in 3/4 and 3/2. The meter is continually changing and offers a good opportunity to improve a groups ensemble work. The pleasant Scherzo which follows offers the same opportunities, rhythmically speaking as well as practice for quick changes from pizzicato to arco. The use of fifths is especially charming. The Andante quasi adagio which comes next is tonally attractive and atmospheric while the finale, Allegro con moto, is a modern descendant of Haydn and Mozart and has an especially pleasing lyrical subject. Despite its challenges, in any case, this is a work which is pleasing to play."---the famous chamber music critic Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players
Charles Koechlin (1867-1950) was born in Paris and initially trained as an engineer before entering the Paris Conservatory where he studied with Gabriel Faure among others. He later became a close friend and collaborator of Faure's and wrote the first biography about him. Though he never held a permanent teaching position, he lectured and taught at several institutions including the Schola Cantorum in Paris and the University of California at Berkeley. Among his many students were Germaine Tailleferre, Francis Poulenc and Cole Porter. He was a prolific composer who wrote in many different styles from the Baroque to modern day polytonalism and as such it is difficult to characterize his music as belonging to any one style.
This traditionally tonal modern French work from the first part of the 20th century makes an attractive program choice for professionals looking for something beyond Ravel or Debussy but should also be of interest to amateurs.
Parts & Score: $31.95