Mykola Lysenko

(Nikolai Lysenko)

Soundbite 1st Movt


Soundbite 2nd Movt


Soundbite 3rd Movt

String Quartet in d minor

World Premiere Edition

Mykola Lysenko (1842-1912--sometimes transliterated as Nikolai or Nicolai Lysenko or Lissenko) is considered the father of Ukrainian chamber music much the way that Glinka is for the Russians. He was the first Ukrainian composer to write chamber music. In 1904, he founded the first music conservatory in the Ukraine in Kiev, which today bears his name. Lysenko was born in the Poltava district of the Ukraine. He first studied piano with his mother, then formally with teachers in Kiev. After taking a degree in the natural sciences at the University of Kiev, he attended the world famous Leipzig Conservatory where he studied composition with Carl Reinecke.


An admirer of the Ukrainian poet Shevchenko, Lysenko became a nationalist for the Ukrainian cause as a student. He remained one for his entire life and was imprisoned for the cause as late as 1907 after composing a song in support of the Revolution of 1905. The bulk of Lysenko's music is for piano or for voice in one form or another such as opera, hymns, or chorales. His piano music often shows the influence of Chopin whereas his vocal music is almost always based on Ukrainian folk music such as his opera Taras Bulba. Lysenko spent considerable time trying to demonstrate the differences between Ukrainian and Russian folk melody. The only chamber music he is known to have composed is this string quartet and a string trio.

The quartet dates from 1868 when Lysenko was finishing his studies with Reinecke in Leipzig. The big, opening movement, Allegro non tanto, begins in a rather dramatic, somewhat operatic fashion. The themes bear some resemblance to those of Glinka's opera Ruslan and Ludmilla. Despite the movement's length, the drama and forward motion are almost never relaxed. The simple but charming melody of the following Adagio is in the form of a chorale. The manuscript only has three movements and it is not known whether there was a fourth movement or whether the third movement was meant as the finale. It is an engaging Minuetto, allegretto scherzando.

A collected edition of Lysenko's works, including this quartet, was published in 70 volumes between 1950 and 1959, however, a performance edition of the parts and score were never separately published. Our World Premiere Edition has been carefully edited and corrected by Loren Silvertrust from a copy of the original manuscript located in Kiev, Ukraine. Like all of our works, it is printed on top grade paper with an ornate cover and biographical information about the composer.

Parts: $29.95


        Parts & Score $36.95 




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