Quartettino in C Major for String Quartet, Op.5
There is virtually no information available about Wladimir Pogojeff (1851-1935 more properly Vladimir Petrovich Pogozhev, in Russian Владимир Петрович Погожев) in any of the standard reference sources. Cobbett's Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music wrongly gives his name as Nikolai Pogojev and his date of birth as 1874. He is known by the French and German spelling of his name because his publisher, M.P. Belaiev transliterated it like that into French and the Germans followed suit. There never was any English transliteration. His dates are generally listed as 1872-1941 but that is because, once again, those were the dates given by Belaiev. But they are wrong. We shall refer to him as Pogojeff, since musically this is the spelling by which he has been called. He entered the Imperial Law School in St. Petersburg, the same one that Tchaikovsky attended, and then entered military service as an officer. He left the service in 1882 and served on the Board of Imperial Theaters in St. Petersburg and Moscow, eventually becoming Manager of the Board. Around this time, he began his musical studies with Rimsky Korsakov privately. As manager of the Imperial Theaters, he was responsible for the staging of many operas by the leading composers such as Borodin, Korsakov and Tchaikovsky with whom he was on friendly terms. He subsequently wrote several books on the theater and acting and is best known, at least in Russian circles, for his books. We know through the research of Professor Richard Taruskin (author of On Russian Music) and also from a few Russian sources that the Pogozhev who was the stage impressario was the same man as the Pogojeff whose works Belaiev published.
Pogojeff did not write a great deal and mostly occupied himself with arrangements of the works of other composers. However, he did leave us three works for string quartet. The Quartettino is the second of the three. One can hear the influence of his teacher as one hears it in the works of Borodin, Glazunov and Kopylov to name but a few. It has the same charm and appeal.
The famous critic and scholar Wilhelm Altmann, writing in his Handbook for String Quartet Players has this to say of the Quartettino:
In 1906, Wladimir Pogojeff published his Op.5 modestly calling it "Quartettino" most likely because it is not a work of extended length and its four movements are relatively short. But it is a work distinguished by its form, thematic invention and beauty of tone. It is straight forward in its design in the classical fashion and while it breaks no new ground, nonetheless, I can warmly recommend it. The opening movement, Allegro, is subtitled Sonatina as it sets itself up structurally in characteristic sonata form. The melodies of the second movement, Andante, are warm and intimate. Next comes a jovial Menuetto, full of good spirits. The finale, Allegro assai, has for its main subject a kind of modified Fugue which is rhythmically quite powerful. This is followed by a more lyrical second subject."
Long out of print, we are pleased to make this appealing work available once again.