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. 11 in E-flat major, Op. 67, No. 2

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
7:22 I. Allegro tranquillo
8:44 II. Andante con moto
5:10 III. Allegretto pensieroso
4:58 IV. Allegro non troppo, giocoso e festivo
Duration: 26 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1945 (age 63-64)
Published: 1947 (age 65-66)
Dedication: Alexei Aleksandrovich Ikonnikov (1905–2000) (biographer)
1 recording, 4 videos
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Taneyev Quartet
I. Allegro tranquillo
Taneyev Quartet
II. Andante con moto
Taneyev Quartet
III. Allegretto pensieroso
Taneyev Quartet
IV. Allegro non troppo, giocoso e festivo
From Edition Silvertrust

Nikolai Myaskovsky Nikolai Myaskovsky (1881-1950) has to be one of the most underrated composers of the 20th century. Most who come to his music for the first time are amazed that it is not better known. He wrote some 27 symphonies and 13 string quartets. 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.

The subtitle of the Eleventh Quartet, Reminiscences, refers us to the composer’s early piano miniatures of 1906-07 and lyrical vocal works of the 1930's the melodies to which he revisits. It was completed in 1945. The unhurried first movement, Allegro tranquillo, sets the pace for the whole work. The music is elegant, transparent, and light. The second movement, Andante con moto, is clearly reminiscence of an earlier vocal work. It is a quote from his 1936 song cycle Lermontov. It is the form of a ballad, lovely and lyrical, yet unexpectedly interrupted by an emotional outburst in the middle The third movement, Allegretto pensieroso, is a slow, waltz. The smooth spinning of the repeated waltz figure, every time gaining new details, wraps a laconic rondo form in a kind of set of variations. The finale, Allegro non troppo, giocoso a festivo, is a lively dance.

While we know the quartets of Shostakovich and Prokofiev, those of Myaskovsky are every bit as deserving of our attention. Here is yet another fine work which belongs in the concert hall and which should be of interest to professional groups everywhere and which is well within the ability of amateurs.

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

Related Composers

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)
Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)
Nationality: Russian
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)
Nationality: Armenian | Soviet
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)