Friday, February 25, 2011

Sunday Classics: String-quartet encores, Part 1 --Warning: You're apt to fall hopelessly in love with this little piece


Serenade: Kreativ Ensemble (Sonia Domoustchieva, Franco Turra, Giuseppe Miglioli, Fernando Sartor) plays the delectable string-quartet Serenade once attributed to Haydn -- one of our string-quartet encore-type pieces tonight.

by Ken

The five concerts I attended out of the six in the St. Petersburg Quartet's series devoted to the complete string quartets of Shostakovich and selected mid and late quartets of Beethoven was one of the great experiences of my concertgoing lifetime, and at some point we're going to have to come back to it. For now, let me say that I actually bought four CDs on display -- and I don't ever remember buying a record at a concert venue. (Not to worry, I had done some checking online and discovered that I wasn't going to be able to buy these records, the St. Petersburg's more recent recordings, which I didn't have, much cheaper, and I figured that this way a significantly larger chunk of the proceeds would go to the musicians.)

Two of those CDs comprised the complete works for string quartet of Tchaikovsky. Each of the others -- a Debussy-Ravel coupling and a coupling Mendelssohn's Op. 13 and Dvorak's American Quartet -- included as a bonus a bona fide encore-type piece, which set me to thinking about string-quartet encore pieces. We're going to hear those two performances (one tonight, the other in tomorrow night's preview), but first I want you to hear another piece I turned up in the process of thinking about the subject.

This is a "Guess the Composer" deal, though you can get the answer easily enough in the click-through. Before we hear this little piece, two things:

(1) It's only fair to warn you that especially if you listen to it more than once, you're at risk for falling hopelessly in love with this little treasure.

(2) Although its composer certainly is well-known, this piece isn't so. It was billed, in the 1974 release from which this performance is taken, as a "world premiere recording." It is estimated to have been written in 1919, when its composer was 21.






At 10:20 AM, Blogger Philip Munger said...

I'll be conducting the Notturno from Borodin's 2nd String Quartet in its string orchestra transcription in Anchorage on May 14th, as part of a Russian pops concert by the Anchorage Civic Orchestra. That is one lovely little gem. Like the Serenade, a simple, straightforward breath of beauty.

At 1:53 PM, Blogger Philip Munger said...

Uh, I almost forgot - Gershwin's Lullaby. Has more than a bit of Joplin's Solace Serenade in it, eh?

At 5:59 PM, Blogger KenInNY said...

Once again, Philip, you've seen it coming: the Borodin Notturno is featured in tonight's Part 2 of our string-quartet encore series! And good luck with your performance of the string-orchestra transcription!



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