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List: Edition Silvertrust
Camille Saint-Saëns

Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921)

Nationality: French
Born: October 9, 1835, Paris Died: December 16, 1921, Algiers (age 86)

String Quartet No. 1 in e minor, Op. 112

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
11:06 I. Allegro molto
6:00 II. Molto allegro quasi presto
7:59 III. Molto adagio
6:34 IV. Allegro non troppo
Duration: 32 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1899 (age 63-64)
Premiere: September, 1899. Paris, Salle Pleyel. Ysaÿe Quartet
Published: 1899 (age 63-64)
Dedication: Eugène Ysaÿe
5 recordings, 20 videos
autoopen autoplay
10:23
Joachim Quartet
I. Allegro molto
5:25
Joachim Quartet
II. Molto allegro quasi presto
7:20
Joachim Quartet
III. Molto adagio
6:09
Joachim Quartet
IV. Allegro non troppo
11:25
Quartetto d'archi di Venezia
I. Allegro molto
5:42
Quartetto d'archi di Venezia
II. Molto allegro quasi presto
7:01
Quartetto d'archi di Venezia
III. Molto adagio
6:37
Quartetto d'archi di Venezia
IV. Allegro non troppo
11:50
Fine Arts Quartet
I. Allegro molto
6:30
Fine Arts Quartet
II. Molto allegro quasi presto
8:45
Fine Arts Quartet
III. Molto adagio
6:42
Fine Arts Quartet
IV. Allegro non troppo
10:14
Unknown ensemble
I. Allegro molto
6:08
Unknown ensemble
II. Molto allegro quasi presto
7:19
Unknown ensemble
III. Molto adagio
6:32
Unknown ensemble
IV. Allegro non troppo
11:38
Equinox String Quartet
I. Allegro molto
6:14
Equinox String Quartet
II. Molto allegro quasi presto
9:28
Equinox String Quartet
III. Molto adagio
6:52
Equinox String Quartet
IV. Allegro non troppo
From Edition Silvertrust

Camille Saint-SaënsFor many, it may come as a shock to learn that Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921), the famous orchestral composer, devoted a great deal of time and effort to writing chamber music. Not only does he have two string quartets to his credit, but he also wrote three works for piano trio, a serenade for piano, organ, violin and viola ( or cello), a quintet for piano, two violins, viola and cello, a Caprice on Danish & Russian Aires for piano, flute, oboe and B flat clarinet and his Septet for piano, trumpet, two violins, viola, cello and bass. It might further surprise you to know that Saint-Saëns didn’t attempt his first string quartet until 1899, at the ripe old age of sixty-four.

The First Quartet was dedicated to the famous violinist Eugène Ysaÿe, whose quartet premiered it. It was hailed as a masterwork of the French quartet literature, which stood in contrast to what many critics called the foreign tainted school of César Franck. The opening movement, Allegro, begins with a nostalgic singing melody which dissolves into a energetic and angst-ridden piu allegro. Suddenly, out of this comes a wonderfully lyrical melody first given out by the cello. The magnificent second movement, Molto allegro quasi presto, stands out as a tremendous tour de force. It opens with a syncopated melody in the minor. Repeated at the same tempo but with shorter notes, it sounds twice as fast. The development keeps up the break-neck speed until, at last, a fugue is reached. No slower than what has come before, it is more powerful and constantly thrusting forward. A reflective Molto adagio follows. It is a complete change of pace. A long-lined, wistful violin melody holds center court for a great while before a more turbulent section makes its appearance. The finale, Allegro non troppo, has a bit of the feel of the second movement, though it is more relaxed and not so feverish. However, its use of varied rhythms does create an underlying sense of restlessness.

Professionals and amateurs looking for a powerful and original work from the late French Romantic period would do well to consider this fine work. Often out of print and when obtainable usually terribly expensive, we are pleased to make it available at a very affordable price.

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


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