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CHAN 9635
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CHAN 9635

Nielsen: String Quartets, Vol. 1

The Classical Shop
release date: June 1998

Originally recorded in 1997


Zapolski Quartet


Arken Museum of Modern Art


Aksel Kaae Trige


Aksel Kaae Trige

Record Label


String Quartet


Total Time - 68:17
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String Quartet No. 1, Op. 13 (FS4)

  in G minor - in g-Moll - en sol mineur  
1 I Allegro energico 10:51
2 II Andante amoroso - Agitato - Tempo I 5:32
3 III Scherzo: Allegro molto 4:46
4 IV Finale: Allegro 5:35

String Quartet No. 4, Op. 44 (FS36)

  in F major - in F-Dur - en fa majeur  
5 I Allegro non tanto e comodo 7:31
6 II Adagio con sentimento religioso 7:19
7 III Allegretto moderato ed innocente 4:40
8 IV Finale: Molto adagio - Allegro non tanto ma molto scherzoso 7:34

Little Suite for Strings, Op. 1 (FS6)

  arr. A. Zapolski  
9 I Prelude: Andante con moto 2:58
10 II Intermezzo: Allegro moderato 5:02
11 III Finale: Andante con moto 6:29

This is the first of two albums by the Zapolski Quartet of Nielsen’s string music to be release by Chandos.

Nielsen was twenty-two when his Little Suite for Strings was first played, and prior to this, his largest-scale compositions had been songs and chamber music. Few Opus Ones are so self-assured. It is in three movments, a Prelude, a waltz-like Intermezzo, and the Finale in which the opening theme re-emerges with remarkable ingenuity, anticipating the mastery of form which Nielsen would develop in the symphonies. Here the Little Suite is performed in an arrangement for string quartet by Alexander Zapolski.

The G minor Quartet owes much to Brahms in for and to Svendsen in idiom. It is in the same key as the first Symphony which was composed around three years later, and in which some identifiable themes from the Quartet appear. The Quartet was revised and performed in 1898, published in 1900 and dedicated to Johan Svendsen.Gade (the Director at the Danish Conservatoire where Nielsen was a student) still berated Nielsen’s work as a muddle, ’but a talented muddle!’ Two years later, referring to his F minor Quartet, Nielsen commented ’Here I have found my own musical language.’

The string Quartet in F major (FS36) was composed between February and July 1906 and was Nielsen’s last. He finally felt that he had begun to know the nature of string instruments and the quartet, regarding the genre as having a chaste, fugitive character. It was originally entitles ’Piavolezza’ after the first movement, but in 1919 it was revised and the title discarded. Nielsen had planned to write another ending although none has ever been found. Apparently the original ending was suggested by the image of an old man sitting in front of his house smoking a pipe which peters out.

"... a well-recorded disc that certainly has a place in my collection."

Joanna Peters - The Strad - November 1998

" ...The music is as fresh and natural, and the invention seems to flow of its own accord. Both pieces are played with great dedication by the Zapolski Quartet..."

Classic FM Magazine - October 1998

G Whyte

R Sparrenholt