Reinhold Glière

Reinhold Glière (1875-1956)

Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: January 11, 1875, Kiev Died: June 23, 1956, Moscow (age 81)

String Quartet No. 3 in d minor, Op. 67

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
8:34 I. Allegro moderato
4:11 II. Vivace
6:59 III. Larghetto
4:14 IV. Fuga. Allegro molto energico
Duration: 24 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1927-1928 (age 51-53)
Published: 1931 (age 55-56)
1 recording, 4 videos
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Bolshoi String Quartet (with score)
I. Allegro moderato
Bolshoi String Quartet (with score)
II. Vivace
Bolshoi String Quartet (with score)
III. Larghetto
Bolshoi String Quartet (with score)
IV. Fuga. Allegro molto energico
From Edition Silvertrust

Reinhold Gliere Twenty two years separate Gliere's String Quartet No.3, composed in 1927, from String Quartet No.2. They were tremendously important years not only for Gliere, but for the world as well. The First World War, with the outbreak and success of the Russian Revolution in 1917, brought the world Gliere knew to an end. The earlier quartets were written when he was in his early 20's during the time of Imperial Russia. By the time he wrote his Third Quartet, he was past 50 and Russia was under the thumb of Stalin. As one might expect, this work represents a quantum leap from what came before, but one can still hear the relationship to the earlier works.

Today, the reputation of Reinhold Gliere (1875-1956) (sometimes spelled Glier) rests primarily upon his symphonies, ballets and operas, however his many chamber music works are widely regarded as of the highest quality by those who are familiar with them. Gliere was born in the then Russian city Kiev. He began his musical studies there with the famous violin teacher Otakar Sevcik, among others. He then went to the Moscow Conservatory where he studied with Sergei Taneyev, Anton Arensky and Mikhail Ippolitov-Ivanov. His superb compositional technique was quickly recognized by his teachers and he won several prizes for his early works, including his First String Sextet which took the prestigious Glinka Prize from a jury consisting of Rimsky-Korsakov, Glazunov and Liadov. Gliere, himself, taught at the Moscow and Kiev conservatories for nearly 40 years. Among his many successful students were Khachaturian, Prokofiev and Miaskovsky.

Of Gliere's chamber music, the respected scholar and critic Professor Sabaneiev wrote:

"His chamber compositions show him to have been an absolute master of form, and a virtuoso in his control of the resources of musical composition and expression...He excelled as a melodist and his themes often reveal the contours of the Russian style which he understood so well. He had a masterly knowledge of the instruments and of their resonance, hence his chamber works are astonishingly rich and well written."

The opening movement, Allegro moderato, begins with a theme which is pleading and melancholy. Immediately, tension begins to build to a powerful climax which releases a forceful torrent of emotion. When things quiet down, a lyrical and romantic melody appears. The second movement, Vivace, begins softly, barely audible in the lower range of the cello. Slowly the rhythmic theme is flushed out into the open. The second theme is simultaneously dramatic and romantic and is then intertwined with the first, then a third Russian-sounding theme is also added. The final two movements are played without pause. A slow movement, Larghetto, comes first. Gliere begins again almost inaudibly. Again, he carefully builds tension to a dramatic climax. A sad and depressed, down-trodden melody of great breadth is then presented. Hearing this, one understands the foundation on which Shostakovich was able to build his technique. The short finale, Fuga, Allegro molto energico, is entirely in the form of a fugue until the explosive coda at the end of the movement.

This is a masterwork from an historically important time. It comes from a period with which we are little familiar. It illustrates how Russian music was developing early on in the Soviet era. It belongs in concert and will certainly interest professionals as well as amateurs who are fans of Russian music.

Our edition is a modified reprint of the first and only edition which was made by the Soviet State Publishers during Stalin's reign and which, for the most part, has been unavailable outside of the Soviet Union. Of these editions, Soviet musicians liked to say, the paper disintegrates within months and the ink never dries. Although we have spent considerable time cleaning up smudges and other detritus one encounters in Soviet editions, there is only so much that can be done. Our edition is a performance edition, printed on high quality paper and quite readable, with errors corrected. It is simply not as crisp or spotless as the typical Western edition because of the original off of which we had to work.

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

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