There is no recording of this work. We have included midi files, but they do not do justice to the music, although they give some some idea of it. We have also included 2 recorded soundbites dating from about the same time from Les Vendredis
String Quartet No.2 in A Major, Op.14
Nikolai Sokolov (1859–1922) was born in St. Petersburg and studied at the conservatory there under Rimsky-Korsakov. He became one of several composers, mostly students of Korsakov such as Glazunov and Borodin, who came to be known as the Belaiev Circle, named after the important Russian music publisher, M.P. Belaiev. These composers dedicated themselves to creating a “Russian School”, (i.e. Russian-sounding). Sokolov eventually became a professor at the Petersburg Conservatory where Alexander Tcherepnin and Dmitri Shostakovich were among his many students.
He wrote music for the ballet and orchestra as well as chamber music, including three string quartets. Today, if he is known at all, it is for his contributions to a collection of short pieces for string quartet by the composers of the Belaiev Circle. The collection came to be known as Les Vendredis, It commemorated the chamber music concerts and banquets which took place most Friday evenings at the mansion of the publisher Belaiev. All of the pieces in the collection were specifically composed for those Friday evening concerts.
His Second String Quartet dates from dates from 1892 and was published by Belaiev. The first movement, Allegro moderato, after a brief introduction, takes off with buoyant melody passed from voice and characterized by its triplet rhythm. The second movement, Allegro, is a lively, rustic scherzo, constantly moving forward and with some very interesting use of chromaticism. Next comes a lovely, romantic, song-like Adagio. The exciting finale, also an Allegro, might almost becalled a moto perpetuo, relentlessly pressing forward.
This is a good quartet, typical of the Belaiev circle, with lovely melodies and fine rhythmic articulations. Amateurs, in particular, will be sure to enjoy this work.