For Piano, 2 Violins, Viola, Cello & Bass
Sergei Lyapunov (1859-1924). studied piano and composition at the Moscow Conservatory with Sergei Taneyev. He then moved to St. Petersburg, where he became friends with the composers of the Nationalist School, in particular Balakirev. He eventually became a professor of piano at the Petersburg Conservatory, and in 1893, along with Liadov and Balakirev, was commissioned by the Imperial Geographical Society to collect folksongs from the northern provinces of the Russian empire. The bulk of his work is for piano and shows the influence of Liszt. At the same time, however, he was firmly in the Russian nationalist school formed by Balakirev and Rimsky-Korsakov. Toward the end of his life, he was widely considered the foremost living composer of the Nationalist School.
The Sextet for Piano, String Quartet and Bass, Op.63 was composed in 1915 and revised in 1921 and is the sole significant piece of chamber music he composed. Although there are other piano sextets of the same instrumentation, probably only the Mendelssohn and the Glinka sextets would have been known to him. The big first movement, Allegro maestoso, makes a very strong impression. It begins with a somber, folksong-like melody. As the movement is developed the music becomes more passionate. A second theme sounds even more Russian than the first, and reminds one of music from the Orthodox Church. The second movement is a sparkling, Scherzo, allegro vivace. One can hear echoes of some of Korsakovís favorite rhythmic patterns, particularly those used in Schererazade, yet the music in no way sounds derivative or imitative. A crystalline quality is created by the tonal registers in which he writes for the individual voices. A long, but beautiful, slow movement. Nocturne, follows. The writing is very romantic, the high point coming with a fetching cello solo which when when the others join in reminds one of music which would not have been out of place in a Russian opera set in Central Asia. The opening bars to the finale, Allegro risoluto, have a hard-driving rhythm and a Brahmsian tonal flavor. By contrast, the second subject is intensely lyrical. The powerful coda, in which both themes battle it out for supremacy, makes a deep impression
Lyapunov's Piano Sextet calls for the same combination as some other works we offer which you may wish to obtain (click on links) so you can make a night of it. These include Mikhail Glinka's Grand Sextet, William Sterndale Bennett's Piano Sextet, Glinka's Divertimento Brillante, Paul Juon's Piano Sextet, George Onslow's Piano Sextet, Felix Weingartner's Piano Sextet.and Henri Bertini's Piano Sextet No.3.