"The String Quartet follows the form of a free sonatina in three movements. The elegant first movement, Modéré allegro, in c sharp minor, built on two themes without development, is linked up with the second movement, a kind of scherzo of delicate tenderness—very Ravelian in character. The finale in salterello rhythm, 6/16, full of rhythmic and polytonal invention, is rich in color and of high musical value, while the whole work is admirably suited to the medium employed.”
So wrote the respected critic Adolphe Piriou in Cobbett’s Cyclopedic Survey of Chamber Music. Her String Quartet was composed over a two year period and completed in 1919. It was, surprisingly dedicated to a non string player, the famous pianist Arthur Rubinstein.
Germaine Tailleferre (1892-1983) was born in Saint-Maur-des-Fossés, a suburb of Paris. As a girl, she studied piano with her mother and began composing on her own. She subsequently entered the Paris Conservatory where fellow students included Louis Durey, Francis Poulenc, Darius Milhaud, Georges Auric, and Arthur Honegger. Her talent was recognized by her professors and she won several prizes for her compositions. Upon the premiere of her String Quartet, she was invited to join Nouveaux Jeunes, a group which later came to be known as Les Six. Under the mentorship of the playwright Jean Cocteau, the young composers were encouraged to reject the fog of impressionism and the pathos of Wagnerism both of which had been in ascendance for several decades. Though holding no official position, she taught and composed throughout her life.
Parts & Score: $31.95