Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908)

Nationality: Russian
Born: March 18, 1844, Tikhvin Died: June 21, 1908, Lyubensk (age 64)

String Sextet in A major

(for 2 violins, 2 violas and 2 cellos)
6:10 I. Allegro vivace
4:50 II. Rondo fugato. Allegretto grazioso
5:35 III. Scherzo. Vivace alla saltarello
7:28 IV. Andante espressivo
5:56 V. Finale. Allegro molto
Duration: 30 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1876 (age 31-32)
Published: 1912
2 recordings, 6 videos
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Vienna String Sextet
Unknown ensemble
I. Allegro vivace
Unknown ensemble
II. Rondo fugato. Allegretto grazioso
Unknown ensemble
III. Scherzo. Vivace alla saltarello
Unknown ensemble
IV. Andante espressivo
Unknown ensemble
V. Finale. Allegro molto
From Edition Silvertrust

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908) needs no introduction. Rimsky-Korsakov's String Sextet in A Major was written for a competition held by the Russian Musical Society in 1876. While he did not win the first prize, he did receive an honorable mention for a work which the chamber music critic Leonid Sabaneiev described as a "youthful, entertaining piece that is full of gaiety."

In five movements, the Sextet begins with an Allegro, the main theme to which is particularly fetching. The second subject is no less charming. Next comes a Rondo fugato to be played as scherzando. Korsakov in his biography noted that he was particularly proud of the technique he used to create a complicated six part fugue. Surprisingly, a slow movement does not come next, but a second Scherzo, Vivace alla saltarello. Its pulsating rhythm gives it an energetic and lively aura. Perhaps, the high point of the Sextet comes in the Andante espressivo, the only slow movement. The main theme, presented by the first cello alone, is extraordinarily lovely. The finale, Allegro molto, provides a suitable denouement.

The Sextet was not published until four years after Korsakov's death in 1912. That edition disappeared after the Russian Revolution. A second edition was subsequently published by the Soviet State Music Publishers. Our edition is a reprint of that long out of print edition. This Sextet is a welcome and attractive addition to the literature which we hope will win friends among both amateurs and professionals.

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

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