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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

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    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    Thanks annaw. I've amended my previous post to add those in and a few others we both missed. Can't believe I missed the Miami cd out of my first list. I have it here. I was only playing it a few weeks ago for the Saint-Saens. Lol.

    Attachment 144975
    Is it a good recording?

    Just finished listening to Ysaye's 2nd recording and at the moment I feel the Live is a bit more driven and passionate, although it's ~2 minutes longer. I struggle a bit with following the flow during the slower movements, although I enjoy it a lot.
    Last edited by annaw; Oct-26-2020 at 20:02.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    Is it a good recording?

    Just finished listening to Ysaye's 2nd recording and at the moment I feel the Live is a bit more driven and passionate, although it's ~2 minutes longer. I struggle a bit with following the flow during the slower movements, although I enjoy it a lot.
    I need to play it again, annaw, because I've forgotten. Lol. I know what you mean about the slow movements. It's a quartet that meanders continually. That's why I said I have to be in the mood for it. Luckily I am at the moment. I'll listen to the Miami and a few others later. Halfway through the Dante disc as I type.

    Edit: I've listened to the Amati and Dante discs since getting in. Two very different readings. The Amati quartet on Divox are probably the quickest on disc in this SQ but it never seems like they're rushing. It's a fine version but the rather dry acoustic and lack of depth in the final movement (those pizzicato need to be louder too) mean that they are not in the league of the Ebenes. The Dante recording is much better to my ears. They get a glorious soundstage from Hyperion and you feel very naturally placed in the recording, especially through your speakers. The Dantes employ more vibrato here than many but aren't frightened to be rugged either. They use dynamics really well across the whole performance. No wonder this was a prize-winning disc 10 years ago.
    Last edited by Merl; Oct-26-2020 at 21:11.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    The Dante recording is much better to my ears. They get a glorious soundstage from Hyperion and you feel very naturally placed in the recording, especially through your speakers. The Dantes employ more vibrato here than many but aren't frightened to be rugged either. They use dynamics really well across the whole performance. No wonder this was a prize-winning disc 10 years ago.
    Merl, do you own all these discs from labels that don't put their records on streaming services? If so I'm impressed! If not, how do you listen to Hyperion and others?
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art is an attempt to transport into a limited quantity of matter, modeled by man, an image of the infinite beauty of the entire universe." - Simone Weil

    "Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret." - Johann Sebastian Bach

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    Not a member of the Weekly SQ group, but here is an excerpt from something I wrote and posted today in another context:

    "Fauré’s last composition, the String Quartet (1924) almost immediately developed a high reputation in advanced musical circles (much less in performance then). It began with championship by his student Nadia Boulanger and others, and continued in North America with strong endorsements by her students including Aaron Copland and Elliot Carter. My own composition teacher like many had studied with her and I remember him speaking about "that quartet." Back in the 1970’s I did a very detailed analysis of contrapuntal structures in the quartet for my master’s thesis. The recording that turned me on was an LP by the Guarneri Quartet; on the other side was Fauré’s C minor Piano Quartet with Arthur Rubinstein. I liked that piece even better!"
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Oct-26-2020 at 22:37.

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    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    Not a member of the Weekly SQ group, but here is an excerpt from something I wrote and posted today in another context:

    "Fauré’s last composition, the String Quartet (1924) almost immediately developed a high reputation in advanced musical circles (much less in performance then). It began with championship by his student Nadia Boulanger and others, and continued in North America with strong endorsements by her students including Aaron Copland and Elliot Carter. My own composition teacher like many had studied with her and I remember him speaking about "that quartet." Back in the 1970’s I did a very detailed analysis of contrapuntal structures in the quartet for my master’s thesis. The recording that turned me on was an LP by the Guarneri Quartet; on the other side was Fauré’s C minor Piano Quartet with Arthur Rubinstein. I liked that piece even better!"
    Thanks for the story and also for your post in the other thread !
    Last edited by annaw; Oct-26-2020 at 23:19.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Knox View Post
    Not a member of the Weekly SQ group, but here is an excerpt from something I wrote and posted today in another context:

    "Fauré’s last composition, the String Quartet (1924) almost immediately developed a high reputation in advanced musical circles (much less in performance then). It began with championship by his student Nadia Boulanger and others, and continued in North America with strong endorsements by her students including Aaron Copland and Elliot Carter. My own composition teacher like many had studied with her and I remember him speaking about "that quartet." Back in the 1970’s I did a very detailed analysis of contrapuntal structures in the quartet for my master’s thesis. The recording that turned me on was an LP by the Guarneri Quartet; on the other side was Fauré’s C minor Piano Quartet with Arthur Rubinstein. I liked that piece even better!"
    Do we know anything about how Fauré expected it to be played - dreamily or energetically? Early recordings seem to be quite punchy compared with (for example) the Ébène pictured above.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Oct-26-2020 at 23:24.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Interesting perspective; I've been in love with Faure pretty much since the start of my classical music journey and I think you described him very well. Would you like to be added to the list of nominators?
    Sure!

    How does this work? Does someone nominate a string quartet every Monday? Is there a list of what's already been covered? The reason why I ask is if I rely on the search function, I would expect dozens of references to other threads unless it's a very obscure work. In other words, I'm lazy. Anyhow, I look forward to contributing where I can. It's nice to see other people that have a passion for chamber music.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Do we know anything about how Fauré expected it to be played - dreamily or energetically? Early recordings seem to be quite punchy compared with (for example) the Ébène pictured above.
    Good question! I know that even French pianism of Fauré's era had the reputation of being strict, fast and fleet-fingered. Eugene Ysaye's (Franco-Belgian School) solo violin playing that I've heard on record is sometimes at a tremendous clip. And French string playing went for nuance, not noodling around. I'll bet on punchy rather than dreamy style, because the slow movement would otherwise drag. Anyway, late Fauré was neo-classical, not impressionist at all!
    Last edited by Roger Knox; Oct-27-2020 at 00:15.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Merl, do you own all these discs from labels that don't put their records on streaming services? If so I'm impressed! If not, how do you listen to Hyperion and others?
    Ive had the Dante, Amati (£1 charity shop buy) and Ebene for a long time on disc.i only picked up the Miami (coupled with Saint Saens) account recently as it was going for buttons on Ebay - it cost me £2.50. Theyre the only ones ive got. Quite a few of the others are on Spotify. Im always looking for bargains online, ACB. For example I picked up Chailly's Brahms cycle on cd for £4, yesterday. Youve just gotta know where to look and how to search. My favourite bargain was Tennstedt's Mahler cycle from America for £2.50, new and still in cellophane. I had to wait a month for it to arrive but what a bargain.
    Last edited by Merl; Oct-27-2020 at 07:54.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SearsPoncho
    Sure!

    How does this work? Does someone nominate a string quartet every Monday? Is there a list of what's already been covered? The reason why I ask is if I rely on the search function, I would expect dozens of references to other threads unless it's a very obscure work. In other words, I'm lazy. Anyhow, I look forward to contributing where I can. It's nice to see other people that have a passion for chamber music.
    Yup, at the beginning of each week somebody nominates a quartet and we just spend the week discussing great music. I personally find it fascinating to learn about music that other people are passionate about and to spend time exploring the incredible diversity and variety of the classical music tradition through a single genre.

    Below is the master list of quartets listened to so far, now updated with a date format that I think will satisfy everybody

    23 Feb: Beethoven - String Quartet No. 14 (Vicente)
    1 Mar: Britten - String Quartet No. 3 (flamencosketches)
    8 Mar: Brahms - String Quartet No. 1 (Allegro Con Brio)
    15 Mar: Schubert - String Quartet No. 15 (Enthusiast)
    22 Mar: Haydn - String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 20/3 (Mandryka)
    29 Mar: Smetana - String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life" (flamencosketches)
    5 Apr: Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 4 (Josquin13)
    12 Apr: Carter - String Quartet No. 3 (Bwv 1050)
    19 Apr: Schnittke - String Quartet No. 2 (Portamento)
    20 Apr: Lutosławski - String Quartet (Shosty)
    3 May: Schumann - String Quartet No. 1 (sbmonty)
    10 May: Korngold - String Quartet No. 2 (Merl)

    17 May: Ravel - String Quartet (Eramire156)
    24 May: Crawford Seeger - String Quartet (Knorf)
    31 May: Hindemith - String Quartet No. 4 (Simplicissimus)
    7 June: Kurtág - 6 Moments Musicaux for String Quartet (TurnaboutVox)
    14 June: Lachenmann - Gran Torso (calvinpv)
    21 June: Frank - Quijotidas (20centrfuge)
    28 June: Ginastera - String Quartet No. 2 (Iota)
    5 July: Mendelssohn - String Quartet No. 6 (DTut)
    12 July: Gerhard - String Quartet No. 2 (Malx)
    19 July: Grieg - String Quartet No. 1 (BlackAdderLXX)
    26 July: Szymanowski - String Quartet No. 1 (starthrower)
    2 August: Nielsen - String Quartet No. 3 (annaw)

    Second Round

    9 Aug: Bartók - String Quartet No. 4 (Allegro Con Brio)
    16 Aug: Mozart - String Quartet No. 19 “Dissonance” (Enthusiast)
    23 Aug: Dusapin - String Quartet No. 7 “OpenTime” (Mandryka)
    30 Aug: Vasks - String Quartet No. 4 (Josquin13)
    6 Sept: Reger - String Quartet No. 4 (Bwv 1080)
    13 Sept: Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 8 (adriesba)
    20 Sept: Sibelius - String Quartet in D Minor "Voces Intimae" (sbmonty)
    26 Sept: Xenakis - Tetras (Portamento)
    4 Oct: Milhaud - String Quartet No. 1 (Merl)
    11 Oct: Ligeti - String Quartet No. 2 (Knorf)
    18 Oct: Borodin - String Quartet No. 2 (Simplicissimus)
    25 Oct: Fauré - String Quartet in E Minor (newyorkconversation)
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art is an attempt to transport into a limited quantity of matter, modeled by man, an image of the infinite beauty of the entire universe." - Simone Weil

    "Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret." - Johann Sebastian Bach

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    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    I don't have a recording of this (yet) but I found Ebene playing it on YT.


    This was really good. I was thinking about getting the CD back when we did the Ravel. That's all the excuse I need to buy yet another recording.
    I'm realizing that my answer to the "favorite recording" question is usually Bruno Walter.

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    Allegro Con Brio, thank you for the list! It will save me a lot of time.

    It's interesting that Debussy and Ravel are recognized as mavericks and innovators, yet their quartets are much easier to digest than Faure's String Quartet. Faure's Quartet really requires repeated listening.

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    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Just listened to the Ébène Quartet recording on Erato. What a difference the recording makes! That last one I tried dragged, but this one was so full of life. I'm thinking I might like the last movement best, but maybe that will change upon another listen.

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    a few versions on my streaming service worth listening to include the Leipziger Streichquartette and the Debussy Quartet renditions - for anyone looking for additional performances to evaluate in addition to Ébène/Ysaÿe, etc.
    Last edited by newyorkconversation; Oct-27-2020 at 14:04.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Do we know anything about how Fauré expected it to be played - dreamily or energetically? Early recordings seem to be quite punchy compared with (for example) the Ébène pictured above.
    I looked online and elsewhere but there's no real clues on how the composer wanted this played, Mandryka. It was his last piece completed (just 2 months before he died) and his hearing was severely impaired at the end. One thing I have noticed is that older recordings are a littke slower and then 20 years ago everyone started playing it more briskly (Miami, Amati, etc). More recent recordings have slowed back down a little, again, but nothing in the league of the lugubrious Medicis and their pedestrian run-through. The Miami recording is the swiftest I've heard yet, clocking in at just under 22 minutes but I'll listen to that again tomorrow as I was interrupted several times.

    Listening to the Loewenguth recording today (it's on Spotify under 'French trios and quartets') I was struck by the Loewenguth's unique phrasing. I liked that but what I didn't like was some occasional sloppy ensemble, the prominence of the first violin and the rather shallow recording. However, it is an enjoyable performance but I feel others do it better. The Stanford Quartet from 1994 are capable and don't hang about here but their lack of dynamics make the quartet seem a bit samey and underplayed. It's still a decent recording, just a little undistinguished. The Ysaye's studio account is well-recorded and cautiously played. It's a fine account but perhaps others dig deeper into Fauré's textures. The Ad Libitum disc is one I particularly disliked when I reviewed their Ravel SQ and my view of their Faure is similarly negative. There's some weird sounds on this recording, like a low rumble, particularly on the first movement, which are particularly annoying at high volume. Furthermore it's not a good performance and the rest of the sound is recessed and oddly-balanced. Unpleasant.

    Ive a couple left to listen to including the Leipziger and my own Miami disc (again) . Hopefully I can round these off tomorrow.
    Last edited by Merl; Oct-27-2020 at 19:45.

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