Giuseppe Verdi (1823-1901)

String Quartet in E minor

Allegro
Andantino
Prestissimo
Scherzo - Fuga

In 1873 Verdi was in Naples to prepare for the production of Aida and Don Carlos. In the event the leading soprano, Maria Stolz, became sick. For three weeks Verdi had to wait for her to recover. Confined to his hotel, he wrote the e- minor quartet. After the production of Aida, he organised a small surprise party for his friends where the quartet was performed for the first time. Its marvellous operatic moments, its drama and its wonderful melodies were immediately received with much enthusiasm. The last movement is reminiscent of the last movement of Chopin's Marche Funebre Sonata. So enthusiastic were the listeners that it had to be repeated. Verdi, however, did not allow it to be published. It was first played publicly in 1877, a performance which resulted in it being in popular demand throughout Europe. Ensemble XXI Moscow played the Russian Premiere of this work in 1990 in Moscow in the arrangement for string orchestra by Pia Siirala.
                                                      
copyright Lygia O'Riordan