If Pushkin and Tolstoy, each in his own way, redefined the shape of Russian literature, Tchaikovsky and Borodin did likewise in their musical works. Always divided between his professional chores (both as a physician and as a professor of chemistry) and his numerous musical activities, Borodin was a master of chamber music. His Second Quartet, with its famous “Notturno,” was dedicated to his wife, an excellent pianist, on the occasion of their twentieth anniversary. In Tchaikovsky’s Quartet No. 1, meanwhile – the first string quartet written by a Russian composer – the composer comes as close as possible to pure music and achieves a remarkable structural balance.