VISIT WESTCORKMUSIC.IE

LATEST ADDITION TO THE ARCHIVE

String Quartet No.3 in E flat minor Op.30

Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (b. 1840 - d. 1893)

Kelemen Quartet (photo credit: Tamás Dobos)

Kelemen Quartet (photo credit: Tamás Dobos)

Composer
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (b. 1840 - d. 1893)
Composition Year
1876
Work Movements
1. Andante sostenuto - Allegro moderato
2. Allegretto vivo e scherzando
3. Andante funebre e doloroso, ma con moto
4. Finale: Allegro non troppo e risoluto
Artists
Kelemen Quartet (Barnabás Kelemen, Gábor Homoki [violins], Katalin Kokas [viola], Dóra Kokas [cello])

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

Tchaikovsky is of course best known for his ballets, symphonies, concertos and operas, but he also wrote three magnificent string quartets. The first two are comparatively early works; but his third and last quartet was composed in 1876, when he was approaching the peak of his powers. It was written as a tribute to the memory of the popular violinist Ferdinand Raub, his friend and Moscow Conservatoire colleague, who had led the premieres of his first two quartets, and who had died the previous year. Nearly a century later Shostakovich was to pay similar tributes to the four members of the Beethoven Quartet, who premiered nearly all of his string quartets.

This is a highly dramatic and large-scale work that is almost overwhelmed by a sense of unbearable loss. It opens with a long, slow introduction lasting over four minutes, thus almost a movement in itself. The core of this introduction is a passionate melody for the first violin that vividly depicts the composer's sorrow at the death of his friend. Eventually we are gently drawn into the main Allegro, which begins with a comparatively undemonstrative theme that nonetheless generates some impassioned outbursts. The movement closes with a shortened version of the opening introduction. The brief and lively Scherzo provides an energetic and witty interlude between two very heavyweight movements. There is a folk-like Trio with a gentle, lilting tune and a dark colouring.

The Andante funebre e doloroso speaks from the heart. It opens in much the same brooding style as the introduction to the first movement, but the passion is more restrained and soon leads into a mournful funeral chant. This in turn gives way to a long, muted central section that seems to have all passion spent until the loss and sadness once more wells up as the funeral chant tries again to impose itself. Right at the end and quite unexpectedly the music shimmers with a glimpse of hope as it soars above the earthbound chanting.

The Finale states very firmly at the outset that life should reassert itself and, with its scherzo-like character, sets out to dissipate the mood of tragedy. A number of jovial themes are bundled together and driven along at a headlong tempo. However the attempt at cheerfulness has a forced and unconvincing air and just before the hard-driven conclusion the funeral chant is chillingly recalled.

FULL DETAILS SEARCH FOR MORE

String Quartet No.3 in E flat minor Op.30

Composer: Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (b. 1840 - d. 1893)
Performance date: Saturday 29th June 2013
Venue: Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,

Share on Twitter | Share on Facebook
http://archive.westcorkmusic.ie/details/view/cmf/285

Composer Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (b. 1840 - d. 1893)
Work Title String Quartet No.3 in E flat minor Op.30
Composition Year 1876
Work Movements 1. Andante sostenuto - Allegro moderato
2. Allegretto vivo e scherzando
3. Andante funebre e doloroso, ma con moto
4. Finale: Allegro non troppo e risoluto
Artist(s) Kelemen Quartet (Barnabás Kelemen, Gábor Homoki [violins], Katalin Kokas [viola], Dóra Kokas [cello])
Performance Date Saturday 29th June 2013
Performance Venue Bantry House Library, Bantry, Co. Cork, Ireland,
Event Late Night Concert
Duration 00:35:49
Recording Engineer Damian Chennells, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category String Quartet
Instrumentation 2vn, va, vc
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

Tchaikovsky is of course best known for his ballets, symphonies, concertos and operas, but he also wrote three magnificent string quartets. The first two are comparatively early works; but his third and last quartet was composed in 1876, when he was approaching the peak of his powers. It was written as a tribute to the memory of the popular violinist Ferdinand Raub, his friend and Moscow Conservatoire colleague, who had led the premieres of his first two quartets, and who had died the previous year. Nearly a century later Shostakovich was to pay similar tributes to the four members of the Beethoven Quartet, who premiered nearly all of his string quartets.

This is a highly dramatic and large-scale work that is almost overwhelmed by a sense of unbearable loss. It opens with a long, slow introduction lasting over four minutes, thus almost a movement in itself. The core of this introduction is a passionate melody for the first violin that vividly depicts the composer's sorrow at the death of his friend. Eventually we are gently drawn into the main Allegro, which begins with a comparatively undemonstrative theme that nonetheless generates some impassioned outbursts. The movement closes with a shortened version of the opening introduction. The brief and lively Scherzo provides an energetic and witty interlude between two very heavyweight movements. There is a folk-like Trio with a gentle, lilting tune and a dark colouring.

The Andante funebre e doloroso speaks from the heart. It opens in much the same brooding style as the introduction to the first movement, but the passion is more restrained and soon leads into a mournful funeral chant. This in turn gives way to a long, muted central section that seems to have all passion spent until the loss and sadness once more wells up as the funeral chant tries again to impose itself. Right at the end and quite unexpectedly the music shimmers with a glimpse of hope as it soars above the earthbound chanting.

The Finale states very firmly at the outset that life should reassert itself and, with its scherzo-like character, sets out to dissipate the mood of tragedy. A number of jovial themes are bundled together and driven along at a headlong tempo. However the attempt at cheerfulness has a forced and unconvincing air and just before the hard-driven conclusion the funeral chant is chillingly recalled.