Maximilian Steinberg

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Steve Jones

String Quartet No.1 in A Major, Op.5

“Steinberg’s music is substantial and interesting and deserves to be far better known than it is. The Op.5 string quartet (1907) not only shows technical ability but also originality. The influence of Glazunov, one of his teachers, is clearly present. A feature of great interest is its structure, the cyclic principle being applied ingeniously without a trace of artificiality. The first movement, Allegro moderato, is founded on two themes, the first of which is later used for the Allegro scherzo, while the second theme generates the beautiful and thoughtful trio melody, echoes of which appear in the slow movement, Andante sostenuto. The first theme also plays an important part in the finale, Allegro moderato. Taken as a whole this quartet is worthy of close attention and stands high in the repertory of Russian chamber music.—–M.D. Calvocoressi, writing in Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music. 


Maximilian Steinberg (1883-1946) was born in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius, then in the possession of Russia. He entered the Saint Petersburg Conservatory, where he studied with Liadov, Rimsky-Korsakov and Glazunov. He was considered highly talented and received strong support from Rimsky-Korsakov who served as his mentor. After Rimsky’s death, Steinberg became a lecturer and eventually a Professor of Composition at the Conservatory, a position he held until his death. He edited and completed Rimky-Korsakov's monumental treatise, Principles of Orchestration. Dmitri Shostakovich was among his many students.


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