String Quartet No. 3 in E flat Minor, Op. 30
String Quartet in B Flat Major, (1865)
Four Movements for String
New Haydn Quartet, Budapest
- Janos Horvath, Peter Sarosi,(violins) Gyorgy Porzolt,(viola) and Gabor
recorded 2-5/10/95, in the
Unitarian Church, Budapest. DDD
This disc is the second in the series of two which completes the Tchaikovsky
String Quartets for Naxos. Indeed, this disc was recorded at the same sessions
as the first disc from the same artists, already reviewed. The impecunious
collector may now buy all of Tchaikovsky's works for sting quartet for less
than a tenner.
Of the two discs, this one may be likely to be less popular because of the
relative popularity of the first quartet on the first disc. However, unlike
other competitive versions, this has another miniature work for string quartet,
(the Four Movements for String Quartet), Others simply have the quartets,
plus either one of the miniatures, or either the "Souvenir de Florence".
This disc is therefore more likely to attract those who like to listen to
something a little out of the ordinary.
String Quartet No. 3 was completed some in March 1876, and so was still a
fairly early work. It was performed privately two weeks after it was completed
and again publicly at the Moscow Conservatory in three separate occasions.
It was very well received by the audiences, indeed many of them being extremely
moved by the lovely slow movement. It consists of the normal four movements,
the first being prefaced by a slow introduction. The second is a gentle scherzo
which captivates these particular ears. There then follows the slow movement.
This is not as immediately arresting as its cousin in the first quartet,
but is none the less effective. The quartet rounds off with a lively and
energetically written finale.
If the overall feeling of the Quartet is somewhat sombre, it is maybe pertinent
to remember that it was written primarily in memory of Ferdinand Laub. This
Czech violinist had been extremely active in Moscow, both as violin professor,
and also as first violinist of the Russian Music Society Quartet. The quartet
had been responsible for the first performances of both of Tchaikovsky's
earlier quartets. He had died the year before the third quartet was written,
and this factor alone had obviously wrought its effect upon the audiences
at the first few performances of the work.
The remaining works are of lesser calibre. The String Quartet in B Flat is
a very early work, written whilst Tchaikovsky was still a student. It was
written some six years before the First Quartet, and has never been considered
by the composer as part of his string quartet works. The same applies to
the four movements for string quartet, written in 1863 and 1864. Here we
have even earlier works, written while still a student of Rubenstein at the
The four players play very well together and all parts within these two quartets
are able to be heard clearly and effectively. I therefore have no qualms
whatsoever about recommending this disc,
as I did its predecessor. Both the
recording and documentation are first class.