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Glière: 12 Duets for Two Violins

Muzyka Moscow, $13.95.

Glière: 12 Duets for Two Violins

Leave it to a Russian composer from the late Romantic era to create a collection of violin duets at once powerfully expressive yet delicate. Renowned conductor, teacher, and violinist Reinhold Glière has harnessed the exquisite harmonic energy of our beloved instrument with 12 Duets for two violins.

Best-suited to the advanced high school or university student, this series includes lush arrangements, interesting chromatic turns, and modulations to keep the players busy. There’s also an incredible amount of harmonic material packed into each work. The melody is undulating, rarely resting, and passed between the two parts. The dozen pieces range from haunting to vivacious—heartrending to triumphant.

Glière (1875–1956) also composed concertos, operas, and fi lm scores, among other things. 12 Duets was penned in 1909. Like the Hungarian composer Bartók and others of his era, he became interested in folk melodies from his country and incorporated those ideas into his music.

This is clear in 12 Duets, as many themes start out simply and then are twisted into gorgeous modern variations. It was during his tenure at the Moscow Conservatory that Glière began to pursue his interest in folk music, researching and collecting material for his works.

Because of his interest in national musical styles, Glière achieved a level of fame in the Soviet musical world after the Russian Revolution. He gained a reputation as a politically active composer, organizing concerts for workers and directing musicians’ unions.

As a teacher, he guided many composers to success, including Sergei Prokofiev.

*This article appeared in Strings February 2012
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