Quartet No. 1

Quartet No. 1


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Structurally, this quartet uses the more standard classical forms, but using musical themes that are distinctly Russian. Ths first movement is in sonata form. It’s first theme is fluid, and the second is initially stated by the viola against rich harmonies in the other parts. These are then developed and restated in the recapitulation, before ending with a high-spirited coda. The second movement is based on the folksong ‘Sidel Vanya’, a traditional song from the Ukraine. The song is interspersed with highly expressive violin melodies, played twice over a pizzicato accompaniment. The third movement, marked ‘Scherzo’ has the robust, rhythmic character of a Russian peasant dance. The central trio pits the three upper instruments playing complex syncopated figures over a drone in the cello, before a repeat of the scherzo closes the movement. The Finale features two themes, an exuberant dance and a song of Slavic soulfunless. Both these themes are developed many ways before a sudden stop in the music. After a tiny, slower section, a whirlwind coda brings the music to a close. With interest in all parts, a great way to experience a lesser known work by a great composer.


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Robert Rainford

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