Aficianadoes of that most deliquescent of genres--the string quartet--will find much to admire in these two splendid works by significant Russian Romantic composer A. S. Arensky.
Even in the later-19th Century it appears Beethoven's influence in Russia--and the Russian appreciation of his art--was greater than that of Brahms. Certainly Arensky's Quartets reflect this Beethovenian effect; moreover, the tie is even more closely drawn as the Russian theme Beethoven incorporated into his First Razumovsky Quartet (Op. 59, No. 1) is also used by Arensky. (The same theme is used by Rimsky in his Overture on Russian Themes, Op. 28 Rimsky-Korsakov: Sadko Suite for orchestra Op5; Pan Voyevoda Suite for orchestra Op59 .)
Arensky's G-major Quartet (1888) is a very ebullient work in the Beethovenian vein--by which we refer to the dynamics of architecture, rhythm, texture, and ethos. The part-writing is extremely well wrought. This is very cosmopolitian music although the piece concludes with variations on a Russian theme.
Arensky's a-minor Quartet (1895) begins in the melancholy mode but quickly modulates into the major wherein lies much of the statement. The work's center of gravity is comprised of a large set of variations which explore many techniques of string playing. The piece concludes with that Russian theme which will be immediately recognizable to anyone familiar with Beethoven's aforementioned middle-period masterpiece.
Marco Polo was originally Naxos' luxury line. Disc out of print but available from 3rd party. Worth obtaining for collectors.
Arensky: Symphony No. 1 and Premiere Recordings
Arensky: Symphonies Nos. 1 & 2
Arensky: Symphony No. 2, etc.
Arensky: Suites for Two Pianos
Tchaikovsky: Piano Trio, Op. 50; Arensky: Piano Trio, Op. 32