The Interaction of the Arts of Composition and Performance in the 20th Century Russian String Quartet

Natalia L. Sokolvyak


The article is dedicated to study of the string quartet as an important constituent part of Russian music, comprising
of an impressive quantity of masterpiece works and a developed national performing tradition. The evolution of the
string instrument ensemble in the 20th century is examined in light of the complementary interconnection of the art of
composition with the art of performance. The author reveals the leading tendencies of the development of the genre
connected both with the continuation and enrichment of the traditions embedded by the classic composers of past
centuries and with the attempts of its renewal in the direction of search for new means of instrumental expressivity,
realization of avant-garde ideas and non-canonic artistic conceptions.
Special attention is given to the question of the most immense popularity of string quartet musical performances
during the 20th century. Along with the mobility of this ensemble and its ability to adapt to concert venues of different
sizes and proportions, the string quartet has conditioned the growth of performers’ resources and has actively stimulated
the expansion of the repertoire for this classical string ensemble.
The interaction between the various spheres of the art of string quartet performance is presented by the author in the
aspect of combined creativity of the greatest Russian composers and the leading performing ensembles of the previous
century. It furthered the development of the string quartet and opened new paths for its subsequent development.

Keywords: string quartet, string quartet performance, ensemble of string instruments, 20th century composers.

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