Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Myaskovsky String Quartets Cycle

My recent listening is the Nicolai Myaskovsky String Quartet. Myaskovsky is quite underrated Russian composer, born and die 8 April 1881 – 8 August 1950. He composed 13 quartets of which only the Taneyev Quartet has the complete cycle of this. In 1990 it is published as Russian Disc and now the Northern Flower had re-issued the same material.

The whole set is of a great music. His melody are introvert, not many catchy movement but many starts with slow movement with extra care and solid build up of melody. I really like the 11th quartet where the 3rd movement , Allegreto pensieroso shows his folk music inserted and haunting in this majestic piece.

The 13th maybe the most popular with also the 2nd movement, Presto Fantastico highlighting the whole piece and excellent Finale to the cycle.

Beside the cello and viola also got many upper melody and serve as something like a 'fugue' like arransement. According to some sources Myaskovsky has many German elements rather than Russian in this respect. The term 'lyricism' should be apply maximum to his quartets.

For a quick preview here the sample of Myaskovsky I can found on net, played by Stravinsky String Quartet , see his page here.

The Taneyev Quartet version is a precious gems, and if any other recent CD on Myaskovsky is the Borodin Quartet :

Then there is a newer 1st and 13th quartet recording by Renoir Quartet.


  1. I'd have thought the Borodin Quartet would have taken to Myaskovsky like a duck to water, but the only recording of Myaskovsky's quartets I can think of by them just offhand is a broadcast concert in the 1950s in which they played quartet no.13 ...- my mistake, the newest "iteration" of the Borodin Quartet (Borodin no.3, so to speak) has also played Myaskovsky no.13, at the Bath Festival in Britain back in 2007. Both were broadcast over BBC at one point or another (the second of them live...) and they've played the 2nd movement in studio (BBC "In Tune" program) in 2008. So the new Borodin Quartet does play Myaskovsky more often (a good thing by my lights, but I like Myaskovsky...) ... ah! Further investigation reveals that they recorded it in Moscow in 2009 (Onyx CD 4051.) Maybe the broadcast concert I was thinking of was also the New Borodin Quartet- in fact I think it was, a Paris concert in 2008 with them playing Haydn, Mozart, Shostakovich and Myaskovsky 13... I wonder if the early or middle Kvartet imeni A. I. Borodino (groups) ever played the Myaskovsky quartets live or on recording? Will have to look into that. Hrm... :) (I also have a recording of no.13 played by the Kopelman Quartet- offair from BBC but I think it's mostly the same recording that's available on Nimbus. Good performance. Excellent quartets anycase though as I said, I'm a fan of the composer I'd say. Sorry about the long comment.)

  2. (the 1950s concert - in Stockholm - was of another quartet I like very much performed live and much later recorded on CD by a differently constituted Borodin Quartet ensemble - Wilhelm Eugen Stenhammar's string quartet no.3 in F.)

  3. thanks for that comments. if only the recording you mentiioned can be found elsewhere on net, it will be a precious thing we can do to help fans of Myaskovsky rejoice.