of Steve Jones
String Quartet No.2 in F Major, Op.23
Although Alexander Kopylov (1854-1911) began his studies at the Imperial Court Choir which was similar and modeled after the more famous one in Vienna. (Today known as the Vienna Boys Choir). There he studied violin and served as a chorister. Later, he taught there for much of his life. Although he was unable to gain entrance to either of the major Conservatories in Russia, he nevertheless was able to study composition privately with Rimsky-Korsakov and Anatoly Liadov. He gained a reputation as a Symphonist, and composer of songs, but through his friendship with Rimsky Korsakov, he became interested in chamber music, writing four string quartets. Of them Wilhelm Altmann, the famous chamber music scholar and critic, writes in his Handbook for String Quartet Players:
Kopylov's four carefully written string quartets show an outstanding command of proper quartet style. He gives all of the instruments mutually rich parts to play, alternating in exquisite fashion. His excellence is particularly strong in the sparkling themes. He is able to combine the external beauty of form with effective ideas and distinctive harmonies and rhythms. His Second String Quartet was published in 1894 and dedicated to the memory of Tchaikovsky. It begins with an elegiac, Allegretto introduction which is followed by an Allegro. The first theme is introspective while the second is a passionate dirge. The bright Scherzo which follows completely changes the mood. However, in the slower trio section, the mood once again darkens. The third movement, an Andante, is clearly a funereal song of mourning. Particularly striking is the Moderato middle section with in which the cello brings forth a consoling melody over an accompaniment played in fifths. At last, in the Allegro finale, the mood lifts and there is no hint of grief in the dance rhythms which dominate the music.”
Here is another with appealing melodies, good part-writing and no great technical difficulty, which is fun to play and to hear. Long out of print, we are pleased to make it available again.
Parts & Score: $31.95