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Complete String Quartets

Volume 2

String Quartet op. 30 in E flat minor
String Quartet in B flat major "Junior"

Glinka String Quartet

Catalog #S022576CD [DDD]

Program Notes

Opinions differ as to whether the Second or the Third String Quartet, in E flat minor, can be described as the greatest work. Somber as they are, the ideas prevailing throughout the greater portion of the Second Quartet seem more inspired than those in its successor, but in construction the Third Quartet is superior. It was composed in memory of Ferdinand Laub, whose sudden death had shocked Tchaikovsky. Ferdinand Laub was the eminent violinist, who led the performance of both of Tchaikovsky's earlier Quartets. It was first performed at a concert given by Hrimaly, who had also been associated with the production of its predecessors. It was sketched in Paris during 1876, and completed on the composer's return to Moscow. The elegiac suggestion underlying the work finds its principal expression in the slow movement with its pronounced fatalism, but the brightness of the Scherzo which precedes it, and the verve of the Finale, are well calculated to prevent the pessimism from becoming contagious.

String Quartet in B flat major was composed in 1862-63 while Tchaikovsky was still taking classes at the St. Petersburg Conservatory. The main subject of the slow section is a Ukrainian folk song which he used also in a Scherzo a la Russe for piano op. 1 No. 1. Only one movement , and that in manuscript, remains from the Quartet.


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