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Sulkhan Tsintsadze, was one of Georgia's foremost composers, began his musical career in the 1940s as a cellist in the Georgian State String Quartet. His first composition, based on Georgian folk-songs and being a collection of miniatures for string quartet, was an immediate success. He also wrote several operas, ballets, symphonies and concertos, but it was his compositions for string quartet which came to take pride of place among his works and which made a notable contribution to Georgian music.
Written in 1967, his Sixth Quartet, which is presented here, constitutes one of Tsintsadze's finest creations: on the one hand, it represents the culmination in the development and maturation of the composer's individual style; on the other, it reflects his continued search for new means of expression. A composition consisting of one movement yet divided into five structurally open sections, with its development based on mono-thematic techniques that serve to integrate the parts into a whole, this quartet is written in a form close to that of rondo-sonata, with a prominent role being given to variable continuation. The first section, marked Andante sostenuto, in which the theme is expounded, is wrought with emotion; in the ensuing Allegro assai, the musical development is of a dramatic intensity that finds its culmination in the fugato; in the third section, also marked Andante sostenuto, the theme, filled with concealed sorrow, moves from sighs of lament to a rhythmic acceleration; in the Allegro schereando, which sounds not unlike a grotesque and fantastic dance, the theme is subsubjected to a number of contrapuntal devices; finally, in the Andante molto sostenuto, the theme returns in its tragic coloring, as if posing a question to which there comes no reply.
The Georgian State String Quartet is considered to be one of the finest ensembles in Georgia. Currently it is based in Germany. It was formed in 1967 and soon came to enjoy wide acclaim. Led by Konstantin Vardeli, with Tamaz Batiashvili (violin II), Nodar Zhvania (viola) and Otar Chubinishvili (cello), who are People's Artists of Georgia and professors at the Tbilisi State Conservatory, this quartet has won not only the Zakharia Paliashvili prize, the Republic's highest award, but prizes at several international competitions abroad, too. Welcome guests on the platforms of celebrated international concert halls, they tour widely throughout Europe, have made numerous recordings and, at the present time, are working on a contract basis in the German city of Ingolstadt. Possessed of an extensive repertoire, they perform rich and varied programs, including compositions from practically the whole range of quartet literature from early Classical works to contemporary music. Not only are they outstanding interpreters of the quartets of Bartok and Shostakovich as well as of corn' positions by Schoenberg and Webern they also perform masterpieces of Georgian music, some of which are to be heard on this web-site. Sulkhan Tsintsadze was one of Georgia's leading composers. He was awarded the People's Artist of Georgia (1961) and People's Artist of USSR (1987) titles and was a holder of the USSR State Prize (1950), Shota Rustaveli Prize (1981), Z. Paliashvili Prize (1977).