Jurgis Karnavicius

String Quartets Nos. 3 & 4

Vilnius String Quartet



World première recordings

Sleeve notes in English



August 2021

Catalogue No.:
ODE 1387-2


Track listing

CD 62:02
Jurgis Karnavicius (1884-1941)
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 10 (1922) 33:13
1 I. Andante 8:00
2 II. Allegro 11:41
3 III. Lento tranquillo 13:32
String Quartet No. 4 (1925) 28:43
4 I. Moderato commodo 11:12
5 II. Andante 8:04
6 III. Allegro animato 9:27

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Complete description

The first volume of the premiere recordings of Jurgis Karnavičius’ (1884–1941) string quartets performed by the Vilnius String Quartet resulted in a growing number of excellent album reviews. It included the composer's romantic and folkmusic-inspired first two quartets. This second volume includes the composer’s last two quartets: Nos. 3 & 4 which are more expressive and modern in nature. Karnavičius wrote his four impressive string quartets during his study and teaching years in St. Petersburg during the 1910s and 1920s, filling the chronological and stylistic gap between the String Quartets of Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich.


Karnavičius made significant contributions to the cultural life in Lithuania after returning to his home country in the late 1920s. Karnavičius had been a pupil Maximilian Steinberg at the St. Peterburg Conservatory later becoming a professor in the same institution. Although, the composer’s work has been admired in Lithuania, his magnificent chamber music opuses have been performed extremely rarely after his death. Yet, these pieces reveal compositional mastery and aesthetic subtlety. After its premiere in St. Petersburg, it took nearly a half century before the String Quartet No. 3 was heard again: in 1969, long after the composer’s death. Similarly, the composer’s String Quartet No. 4 had to wait for its next performance until the 1980s and still remains unpublished.


For fifty-five years the Vilnius String Quartet, a recipient of several prestigious prizes, has been enjoying the reputation of one of the leading collectives in the cultural life of Lithuania. Its performances have won accolades both in Lithuania and abroad. Having toured around the world, the Quartet has appeared in the world’s top concert halls and festivals. The Vilnius String Quartet has collaborated with both renowned masters and young performers. Its intriguing and remarkable programmes and concert series draw numerous audiences, and introduce the Lithuanian listeners with both masterpieces and lesser-known repertoire. Annually, the Quartet presents new opuses focusing on Lithuanian music having performed more than 100 works by Lithuanian composers (half of them being especially dedicated to the ensemble).