The S.I. Taneyev Quartet Vladimir Ovcharek, violin Grigory Lutzky, violin Vissarion Solovyev, viola Josef Levinzon, cello
Recorded in 1979 by the St. Petersburg Recording Studio. Sound Engineer: Gerhard Tses. Text: Northern Flowers. English text: Sergey Suslov. Design: Anastasiya Evmenova & Oleg Fakhrutdinov.Cover: Victor Borissov-Mussatov, Slumber of a Deity (fragment), 1905
Quartet No. 2 in C major, op. 5 (1895) In his Second Quartet, Taneyev appears in the full maturity of his genius. The opus strikes with its spontaneity of intonations, intense drama, and unusually symphonic attitude. The conjunction of images in their conflict and dynamics makes it one of Taneyev’s greatest achievements in instrumental chamber music. The main theme of the first movement (Allegro) is stern and majestic. Its proud appearance comprises a kind of inner energy, which is disclosed with a real Beethovenian might. Moreover, the very nature of many harmonic details reveals a clear influence of Beethoven. Remarkable in the final part of the first movement is the largamente episode, with its dramatic strain making you think of Tchaikovsky as the author of the Pathetic Symphony. The second movement, Scherzo — in its first and last sections, may be described as “demonic” (there is also something of a “funeral scherzo” in it). The main theme is close in its intonations to the “Dies irae” sequence. Sinister coloring, alternation of convulsive rhythms, a cascade of accented figurations, and whirly passages — all these form a flow of exceptional sonic density. And suddenly, an abrupt turn follows. The cello intones an artless, song-like tune. It embodies something earthly, na?ve, and meek, and feminine. Emotionally, the range of the third movement (Adagio espressivo, the lengthiest in time of all slow movements by Taneyev) extends from soft lyrical and meek attitudes to pathetic sorrow, to an outburst verging despair. The texture of the Adagio is worth noting, with its harmonic intensity of an acerbic kind sometimes, with its fragmentations, overlays, modulations, chromatisms, and delays, which however never obscures the clarity of the melodic pattern. The Adagio of the Second Quartet is undoubtedly is one of the best and most perfect pages of Taneyev’s music. The finale of the opus, with its merry tunes and fresh, pulsating rhythms, becomes a joyful and optimistic crown of the perfect musical edifice.