Nikolai Myaskovsky

Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881-1950)

Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: April 20, 1881, Modlin, Poland Died: August 8, 1950, Moscow (age 69)

String Quartet No. 1 in a minor, Op. 33, No. 1

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
9:41 I. Poco rubato ma allegro ed agitato - Allegro non troppo
4:36 II. Allegro tenebroso
9:03 III. Andante sostenuto
5:43 IV. Assai allegro quasi Presto - Prestissimo
Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1929-1930 (age 47-49)
Published: 1932 (age 50-51)
1 recording, 4 videos
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Taneyev Qartet
I. Poco rubato ma allegro ed agitato - Allegro non troppo
Taneyev Qartet
II. Allegro tenebroso
Taneyev Qartet
III. Andante sostenuto
Taneyev Qartet
IV. Assai allegro quasi Presto - Prestissimo
From Edition Silvertrust

Nikolai Myaskovsky Although this Quartet carries the moniker of No.1, it is not Myaskovsky's first string quartet. Nos.3, 4 and 10 were all composed before No.1, roughly between 1907 and 1911. No.1, which is in actuality his fourth quartet, dates from 1929. Tonally speaking, this quartet and No.2 are the most modern-sounding and in some ways the most astringent. The main theme to the opening movement, Poco rubato ed agitato, is highly chromatic and enigmatic. It is followed by a kind of lullaby subject expressed in the pentatonic scale. The second movement, Allegro tenebroso, is a kind of modern scherzo combining a whirling motif with a mechanical like quality produced by its rhythm. The following Andante sostenuto is quite daring in that it clearly shows the influence of jazz and the blues--hardly extraordinary for the times in the West, but in the Soviet Union, jazz and the blues were anathema. Shostakovich, during this period, was forced to publicly apologize for producing an arrangement of Tea for Two. The finale, Assai allegro, features a lopsided rhythmic, thrusting dance which moves forward by lurches.

Despite the fact that Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881-1950) wrote some 27 symphonies and 13 string quartets, he and his music are barely known. This is virtually impossible to explain, especially when you play or listen to his innovative, original and appealing music. We feel his quartets deserve to be ranked alongside those of Shostakovich and Prokofiev and hope professionals and amateurs alike will take the opportunity to get to know them. Myaskovsky was born in Congress (i.e. Russian) Poland near Warsaw, where his father, a military engineer was then serving. He took piano and violin lessons as a boy but followed in his father's footsteps, entering the military academy and graduating as an engineer. When he was posted to Moscow, he studied composition with Reinhold Glière. Upon transfer to St. Petersburg, he finally decided to become a composer and entered the St. Petersburg Conservatory where he studied with Rimsky-Korsakov and Liadov. It was there he met Prokofiev with whom he became close friends. He served in WWI and was severely wounded on the Austrian front. After the war, he taught for most of his life at the Moscow Conservatory. Among his many students were Kabalevsky, Khatchaturian, Shebalin and Shchedrin.

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

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1900 2000 WWI WWII Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914) Reinhold Glière (1875-1956) Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881-1950) Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) Vissarion Shebalin (1902-1963) Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978) Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987) Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) German Galynin (1922-1966) Rodion Shchedrin (born 1932)
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Born: March 18, 1844, Tikhvin Died: June 21, 1908, Lyubensk (age 64)
Reinhold Glière (1875-1956)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: January 11, 1875, Kiev Died: June 23, 1956, Moscow (age 81)
Dmitri Kabalevsky (1904-1987)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: December 30, 1904, St. Petersburg Died: February 18, 1987, Moscow (age 82)
Aram Khachaturian (1903-1978)
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Born: June 6, 1903, Tbilisi Died: May 1, 1978, Moscow (age 74)
Vissarion Shebalin (1902-1963)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: June 11, 1902, Omsk Died: May 29, 1963, Moscow (age 60)
Rodion Shchedrin (born 1932)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: December 16, 1932, Moscow (age 91)
German Galynin (1922-1966)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: March 30, 1922, Tula Died: July 18, 1966, Moscow (age 44)
Anatoly Lyadov (1855-1914)
Nationality: Russian
Born: May 12, 1855, St. Petersburg Died: August 18, 1914, Polïnovka (age 59)
Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953)
Nationality: Russian | Soviet | Ukrainian
Born: April 27, 1891, Sontsovka, Ukraine Died: March 5, 1953, Moscow (age 61)