String Quartet in A Major, Op.1
“Persiany’s String Quartet in A Major appeared in 1906 as his Op.1. It reveals a strong talent. The work not only sounds good but is written in true quartet style throughout. It begins with a short introduction, Andante, The main part of the first movement, Allegro moderato, has for its first subject a fine melody which is then followed by a charming, lyrical second theme. The deeply felt second movement, Adagio, has a noble main theme and a tuneful middle section. A piquant Scherzo comes next, with a somewhat sad, contrasting trio. The powerful finale, Allegro even has an effective fugue within. The entire quartet is praiseworthy.”---Wilhelm Altmann writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players.
Very little information is available about Johann Persiany (1879-19??). As of this writing, it has been impossible to determine where he was born. From his first name, one can conclude that he was an ethnic German, perhaps but necessarily, one of the many Baltic Germans serving in the Russian government. That Persiany did so is one of the few facts which is known about him. Although he studied at the St. Petersburg Conservatory under Anton Liadov and Rimsky-Korsakov, and published a small number of works, which were held in high regard, shortly after graduating, he chose to pursue a career as a diplomat and apparently composed very little thereafter. His String Quartet is the only work of his known outside of Russia. It was brought out by the famous Russian music publisher Beliaev (Beliaeff) in Leipzig in 1906 and is dedicated to his teacher Liadov. In four movements, it exhibits most of the characteristics—charm, appealing melodies, use of Russian themes of the so-called Beliaev Circle which consisted of Korsakov’s many students or which were influenced by him and his ideas. The better known members included Glazunov, Borodin and Liadov, but many others, such as Kopylov, Sokolov, Gretchaninov, Winkler, Vitols, Pogojeff, Zolotarev, and Blumenfeld were part of this group and produced a considerable number of attractive works.
This is a fine work. It is a good representative of the Beliaev School and is sure to makea good impression in the concert hall. As it presents no real technical difficulties, it should also be of interests to amateurs. Long out of print, we are pleased to make it available again.