Alexander Borodin’s String Trio in G minor for two violins and cello unfolds in a single brief movement. Composed in 1855, it is a set of eight variations on a once popular Russian folk song, Chem tebya ya ogorchila (“What have I done to hurt you?”).
A single violin begins the melancholy theme and is joined soon in a canon by the other two instrumental voices. Each variation opens the door to a new and distinct musical landscape. Flowing lines give way to reverberant pizzicati and bagpipe drones. The piece ends with the same quiet, heartfelt canonic lament with which it began.
- Borodin: String Trio in G minor, Moscow String Quartet Amazon
Featured Image: “Illumination on the Moika Embankment in St. Petersburg” (1856), Vasily Sadovnikov