Alexander Glazunov

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936)

Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: August 10, 1865, St. Petersburg Died: March 21, 1936, Paris (age 70)

Elégie for String Quartet, Op. 105, G 180, à la mémoire de M. P. Belaieff

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
Andante sostenuto e piangendo
Duration: 6 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1928 (age 62-63)
1 recording, 1 videos
Arisva Quartett
From Edition Silvertrust

Who was Mitrofan Petrovich Belaiev (1836-1904)? It would be fair to say that without Belaiev, many of our most treasured Russian chamber music works might never have seen the light of day. Lumber millionaire and amateur violist, Mitrofan Belaiev's passion was chamber music. But Belaiev was no ordinary enthusiast. As he approached 50, he decided to devote all of his time and energy and much of his money to the cause of Russian music. In 1885, he founded the publishing firm bearing his name. His goal was to insure that the works of the up and coming Russian composers would be given the widest possible exposure. Among the beneficiaries of his largess were Rimsky-Korsakov, Borodin, Liadov, and first and foremost, Alexander Glazunov. These composers and their students became known to posterity as the ‘Belaiev Circle.’

By 1928, Glazunov had emigrated and was living in Paris. But his friend Mikhail Kourbanov, who had been a violinist in Belaiev's string quartet, was still in Russia. In a letter to the the composer, Kourbanov wrote that he was organizing a concert to mark the 25th anniversary of Belaiev's death as a tribute. He asked Glazunov if he would write an elegy for the occasion, specifying that it should be for string quartet with a funeral march at the end. In an effort to tempt Glazunov, he wrote somewhat inaccurately "You will be the first, for no one else has written a funeral march for quartet. Ce sera magnifique!" Not long after, Glazunov sent Kourbanov the Elegy, an Andante sosentuto, with a short note: " the end, you will find what may pass for a Marcia funebre on the theme B-la-f (Belaiev).

Alexander Glazunov (1865-1936) was born in St. Petersburg, the son of a wealthy book publisher. He began studying piano at the age of nine and started composing not long after. In 1879, he began studies with Rimsky- Korsakov. Glazunov’s progress was so fast that within two years, Korsakov considered Glazunov more of a junior colleague than a student. Between 1895 and 1914, Glazunov was widely regarded, both inside and out, as Russia’s greatest living composer. His works include symphonies, ballets, operas and seven string quartets in addition to various instrumental sonatas.

© Edition Silvertrust. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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