Leoš Janáček´s String Quartet No. 1, “Kreutzer Sonata”, was written in a very short space of time, between 13 and 28 October 1923, at a time of great creative concentration. The work was revised by the composer in the autograph from 30 October to 7 November 1923.
The composition was inspired by Leo Tolstoy´s novella The Kreutzer Sonata. (The novella was in turn inspired by Beethoven´s Violin Sonata No. 9, known as the “Kreutzer Sonata” from the name of its dedicatee, Rodolphe Kreutzer)
The première of the Quartet was given on 17 October 1924 by the Czech Quartet at a concert of the Spolek pro moderní hudbu (Contemporary Music Society) at the Mozarteum in Praque. A pocket score of the work was published in April 1925 by Hudební matice.
Janáček also used the Tolstoy novel in 1908-1909 when it inspired him to compose a Piano Trio in three movements, now lost. Surviving fragments of the Trio suggest that it was quite similar to the surviving quartet, and reconstructions as a piano trio have been performed. [source]
1. Adagio – Con moto
2. Con moto
3. Con moto – Vivo – Andante
4. Con moto – (Adagio) – Più mosso
played by Alban Berg Quartet:
played by Kubin Quartet:
Leoš Janáček with his wife in 1881: