String Quartet No. 1 (Inspired by Leo Tolstoy's Kreutzer Sonata)
In October 1923 the Czech Quartet invited Leos Janacek to "compose something for them". This provided the stimulus for his first string quartet. The work was inspired by Tolstoy's "Kreutzer Sonata" (which he had written influenced by Beethoven's famous violin sonata).
Janacek had also read Tolstoy's story earlier in the original Russian and already at that time it had inspired him to compose a piano trio in 1907 which was later lost.
Janacek's string quartet is a masterwork by the almost 70-year-old composer. The work sparked a creative impulse which continued with the composition of the second string quartet "Intimate Letters" in the last years of the composer's life.
The early sonatas for harpsichord (piano) and violin were composed by a young Mozart.
Contents: Volume I: Four Sonatas for Piano and Violin
Sonata in C major, K. 6
Sonata in D major, K. 7
Sonata in B-flat major, K. 8
Sonata in G major, K. 9
Volume II: Six Sonatas for Keyboard, Violin (or Flute) and Cello
Sonata in B major, K. 10
Sonata in G major, K. 11
Sonata in A major, K. 12
Sonata in F major, K. 13
Sonata in C major, K. 14
Sonata in B major, K. 15
Volume III: Six Sonatas for Keyboard and Violin
Sonata in E-flat major K. 26
Sonata in G major K. 27
Sonata in C major K. 28
Sonata in D major K. 29
Sonata in F major K. 30
Sonata in B-flat major K. 31
The composition of the first string quartet "From My Life" was preceded by a period of fateful changes in Smetana's life. In 1874 he lost his hearing. Two years later he moved with his family to Jabkenice in the countryside, which seemed to him like an expulsion; he suffered from his deafness and missed contact with like-minded company. He presented the string quartet as a conversation within a close circle of four friends who discuss what is tormenting them. It is a kind of passionate and resigned dialogue between a spirited person and his destiny. Smetana's first string quartet soon became one of the most frequently performed works in the quartet repertoire.