String Quartet (Verdi)

Giuseppe Verdi's String Quartet in E minor was written in the spring of 1873 during a production of Aida in Naples. It is the only surviving chamber music work in Verdi's catalogue.

String Quartet in E minor
by Giuseppe Verdi
Giuseppi Verdi by Ferdinand Mulnier c1870.jpg
Giuseppe Verdi
Portrait by Ferdinand Mulnier
Native nameQuartetto in mi minore
KeyE minor
GenreClassical music
FormString Quartet
Composed1873 (1873) –  (): Naples
Performed1 April 1873 (1873-04-01): Naples
Published1873 (1873): Milan: Ricordi
4 movements
  1. Allegro
  2. Andantino
  3. Prestissimo
  4. Scherzo Fuga. Allegro assai mosso
Scoring2 violins, viola, cello


Verdi's production of Aida in early March, 1873 was delayed due to the sudden illness of soprano Teresa Stolz.[1] Verdi focused his time in Naples on the writing of his first chamber work, the String Quartet in E minor. The work was premiered two days after the opening of Aida during an informal recital at his hotel on April 1, 1873.[1] The names of the original performers survive only as Pinto brothers, violins, Salvadore, viola, and Giarritiello, cello.

Verdi commented on the work, saying "I've written a Quartet in my leisure moments in Naples. I had it performed one evening in my house, without attaching the least importance to it and without inviting anyone in particular. Only the seven or eight persons who usually come to visit me were present. I don't know whether the Quartet is beautiful or ugly, but I do know that it's a Quartet!"

The quartet also exists in a version for string orchestra by Arturo Toscanini.[2]


The Quartet is scored for the usual string quartet complement of two violins, viola, and cello.

  1. Allegro
  2. Andantino
  3. Prestissimo
  4. Scherzo Fuga. Allegro assai mosso


  • Berger, Melvin (2001). Guide to Chamber Music. Courier Dover Publications.
  • Parker, Mara E. (2005). String Quartets: A Research and Information Guide. London: Routledge.
  • Streatfeild, Richard Alexander (1895). Masters of Italian Music (PDF). London: Osgood, McIlvaine & Co.
  • Wigmore, Richard (1999). "Liner notes from the Hyperion Records CD, Verdi & Strauss: String Quartets, CDH55012" (PDF). Hyperion Records. Retrieved 5 June 2018.

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