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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #1516
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    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.
    I actually researched this as well. The quartet was premiered after Fauré's death and thus there's no evaluation of what he thought of the playing etc himself. However, it seems to me that it was never meant to be a very quick or energetic piece. In an interview with Fauré's biographer Nectoux, Nadia Boulanger remarked upon the strength of Fauré’s private musical convictions regarding performance practice:

    Fauré used to play more for himself than for others…he played with a very beautiful sonority, but with discretion…Almost as if he was thinking to himself, you know.

    And his pupil Charles Koechlin (a composer and Fauré's biographer) wrote:
    To have heard Fauré at the piano was sufficient to prove that a controlled manner of playing can still allow scope for a great many shades of emotion.

    I think his piano playing can reveal something about his musical personality as well. I suspect that the quartet is meant to be serene rather than energetic but of course, I cannot be sure.

    (For those interested, here's a musical analysis of Fauré's quartet: https://conservancy.umn.edu/bitstrea...6/1/Childs.pdf)
    Last edited by annaw; Oct-27-2020 at 20:25.

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  3. #1517
    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    Picked up the Quatuor Ébène today. I love these guys. The Faure is lovely.
    Ravel, Debussy, Faure - String Quartets.jpg
    If I had a time machine I'd go back and warn these artists about their album covers

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  5. #1518
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackAdderLXX View Post
    Picked up the Quatuor Ébène today. I love these guys. The Faure is lovely.
    Ravel, Debussy, Faure - String Quartets.jpg
    FYI: The Quator Ebene have a new Beethoven quartet cycle. I believe it was recorded live.

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  7. #1519
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    I feel like this quartet totally anticipates the Symbolism/Impressionism of Debussy that was just around the corner. It reminds me of looking at a painting whose shapes are hard to make out but the myriad of colors and the way they are applied is so exquisite that it's enough in itself. Those luscious, pillowy harmonies! It's a ravishing dreamscape in which the ideas are repeated constantly with a very slow sense of development. It's unlike any other string quartet I've ever heard, and, to be honest, one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "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've only listened to it twice in my life so far, but the parts that struck me right away was how in the first movement the instruments pass around the melodic and rhythmic motifs (motives?). I found it interesting and beautiful. Similarly, the last movement with the pizzicato parts being passed around between the instruments. Love it.
    If I had a time machine I'd go back and warn these artists about their album covers

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  11. #1521
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    I feel like this quartet totally anticipates the Symbolism/Impressionism of Debussy that was just around the corner.
    Assuming you're talking about the Fauré String Quartet in E minor, I'm puzzled as to how a quartet composed in 1924 anticipated the work of a composer who died in 1918.

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  13. #1522
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    Assuming you're talking about the Fauré String Quartet in E minor, I'm puzzled as to how a quartet composed in 1924 anticipated the work of a composer who died in 1918.
    Oops! For some reason I always assumed that Fauré did most of his work before Debussy and Ravel. I stand corrected. Thanks!
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

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

  14. #1523
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    I feel like this quartet totally anticipates the Symbolism/Impressionism of Debussy that was just around the corner. It reminds me of looking at a painting whose shapes are hard to make out but the myriad of colors and the way they are applied is so exquisite that it's enough in itself. Those luscious, pillowy harmonies! It's a ravishing dreamscape in which the ideas are repeated constantly with a very slow sense of development. It's unlike any other string quartet I've ever heard, and, to be honest, one of the most beautiful things I've ever heard.
    I really like this comparison! The atmospheric, flowing, and blended sound world sometimes reminds me of Turner's landscapes. There's something very similarly Romantic about Fauré.
    Last edited by annaw; Yesterday at 00:23.

  15. #1524
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Oops! For some reason I always assumed that Fauré did most of his work before Debussy and Ravel. I stand corrected. Thanks!
    To be fair, he mostly did.

  16. #1525
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I relistened to the Ysaye performance again today and was even less impressed with it the second time around. I actually found it a little boring. Not had much more time but I did squeeze in the Leipzigers recording on Spotify. I usually really enjoy this quartet but that is not a good recording at all. Tbh, theres very little wrong with the reading. They play stylishly and there's some nice dynamics and textures but the recording is quite unpleasant and highly resonant, which actually flattens the sound and muddies the perfomance irreparably for me. What a shame!
    Last edited by Merl; Yesterday at 23:38.

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  18. #1526
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    I’ve listened now to three recordings, the Ébène, Ysaÿe, and Stanford. I really like this string quartet. The second movement, especially as played by the Ébènes is my favorite part of it. The harmonies are beautiful and just seem to reach into my chest and stir me. If there’s a performance that’s maximally searching and dreamlike, I would like to listen to it. That’s the interpretation that I think works the best for me with this music, that is, emphasizing its Impressionistic aspect, though I hear a lot of post-Mahlerian Modernism in it. There’s a sort of patience and calm in this music that I find extremely attractive.

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