String Quartet No.1
Sergei Rachmaninov (1873-1943) is well-known both for having been a famous piano virtuoso and for having composed several important piano concertos as well as other works for orchestra. Few, however, know that he wrote chamber music. All of his chamber music was written early in his career. In addition to two completed piano trios, a cello sonata, several pieces for violin and piano and two string quartets neither of which is complete. Both have only two movements. Over the years, there has been much speculation as to whether the parts to the other movements were lost or whether Rachmaninov simply never got around to completing either work.
String Quartet No.1 dates from 1889 and received a performance two years at the Moscow Conservatory. The work, however, remained unpublished and the parts only existed in manuscript until 1947 when Professors Dobrokholov and Kirkor of the Moscow Conservatory brought out an edition, upon which ours is based. The two extant movements are marked Romance, andante espressivo and Scherzo, allegro. They show the influence of his then teachers, Alexander Arensky and Sergei Taneyev, however, his use of chromaticism is characteristic of his writing throughout his life. In the atmospheric and lovely Romance the strings are muted throughout creating a world through a fish bowl effect. The Scherzo which follows is light and bright and provides a fine contrast.
Parts & Score: $25.95