Alexander Glazunov

Chant du ménéstral (Minstrel's Song) for cello & orchestra in F sharp minor, Op. 71

    Description by Emily Stoops

    Alexander Glazunov wrote the Chant du Ménestrel for Cello and Orchestra Op. 71 in 1900. This concert piece was very popular, especially in the first decade of the twentieth century. This rapid gain in popularity was partly due to the fact that Beatrice Harrison, the famous seventeen-year-old English cellist, performed the piece in 1907 at the Royal College of Music with Glazunov conducting.

    The Chant du Ménestrel is short, only about four minutes in length, but it is packed with the emotional expression characteristic of the late Romantic era into which Glazunov's music falls. The Russian (and European) image of the minstrel, or "troubador" in other translations, is a fitting one for Romanticism as well, as in the early 1900s it represented those who freely performed and composed their own brand of music.

    The main melody of the work is plaintive, almost elegiac in quality, appearing in the more tenor-like range of the cello. The cello sings out in full voice and the phrases are long and sorrowful. There are a few brief moments in which it sounds as if the cello line is somewhat improvisatory, which is a characteristic of the Romantic genre. Although Glazunov uses full orchestra in the accompaniment, the texture is never too full for the solo line, thanks to his great skills as an orchestrator. The string lines are rich and expressive. The winds have shorter, beautifully written solos that complement the melody in the most appropriate manner. The cello's melody in the middle section is less morose and more optimistic sounding. This contrasting period of emotional relief makes the subsequent return of the first melody seem even more sorrowful. The melody makes its return first in the winds, then is passed along to the cello to finish out the piece. The solo line ends on the minor third scale degree rather than on the tonic pitch, leaving the listener with the feeling that the overall melancholy of the piece is never quite resolved.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2019 Naxos 8573860
    2019 Audite AUD 23442
    2016 Ars Produktion ARS 38534
    2015 Deutsche Grammophon 4795448
    2015 Finlandia 2564603442
    2015 Signum Classics SIGCD 407
    2015 Nasswetter Music Group
    2014 Sony Classical 88843047122
    2014 Deutsche Grammophon 4792561
    2014 Erato 2564636958
    2012 The Entertainment Group 1139
    2012 Entertainment Group 1563
    2012 Warner Classics 679463
    2012 Warner Classics 662749
    2012 Warner Classics 2564664674
    2012 Analekta ANLCD 96046
    2012 Entertainment Group 12804
    2011 Aliud Records ACDHN 0142
    2011 Warner Classics 2564679465
    2011 Brilliant Classics 9240
    2010 Centaur Records 3047
    2010 Denon Records
    2010 Warner Classics / Warner Classics & Jazz / Wcj 2564680255
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 001340802
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon
    2009 Deutsche Grammophon 4778167
    2009 50119152
    2009 Denon Records
    2009 Naim Classical 118
    2009 Decca / Deutsche Grammophon 001341102
    2008 Deutsche Grammophon 4777527
    2008 Analekta 22006
    2007 Analekta 299705
    2007 EMI Music Distribution 59645
    2007 EMI Classics
    2007 Novalis Classics 150719
    2007 Analekta AN 29786
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 4776505
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon
    2007 Deutsche Grammophon 4776579
    2006 Analekta 13
    2006 Haenssler 98212
    2005 Brilliant 92771
    2005 Disques XXI 21525
    2005 Analekta 29897
    2002 Eroica Distribution 3105
    2002 Deutsche Grammophon 471 620-2GM2
    2001 Naxos 555764
    2001 CBC Records 5153
    2001 Audiophile Classics 528
    2000 Olympia (Classical/Jazz) 641
    2000 Analekta 23130
    2000 Naxos 8 556687
    2000 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 557052-2
    1999 Danacord 330
    1999 Chandos 8555
    1999 Naxos 8 553932
    1999 Ottavo 699865
    1998 Classic FM 8
    1996 BIS 808
    1995 Tall Poppies 010
    1994 Deutsche Grammophon 437 952-2GX2
    1994 Dorian 90188
    1993 Crystal Records Dist. 510
    1992 Deutsche Grammophon 435781
    1992 Chandos 8579
    1992 Chandos 6552
    Aangenaam Klassiek 2003022
    Monitor 62119
    Largo 5123
    Canyon Classics 3694
    Brilliant 92771/4
    Virgin 59595
    Delos DE 1014