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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #1831
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    No need for apologies. I thought your initial post for the Schoenberg quartet was superb, and these discussions are great for people who are studying and trying to understand the theory. I'm just saying don't feel like you can't enjoy a piece if you don't understand how the composer constructed the piece. I certainly don't pretend to understand how Schoenberg builds the musical structure from a row. I just enjoy listening to the musical conversation of a quartet. And of course the more you listen, the better you hear everything that's going on.
    Last edited by starthrower; Jan-13-2021 at 18:11.
    “Music makes you feel feelings. Words make you think thoughts. But a song can make you feel a thought.”

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  3. #1832
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I agree, ST. I just react to the recordings. It's certainly interesting how differently the quartets I've listened to up to now play this music. It was the same with the Shosty SQ we looked at a few months back. There was a very wide range of interpretations.

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  5. #1833
    Senior Member ELbowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    Sorry if I bored everyone with my technical talk. I'm a composer, so that stuff's pretty interesting to me...

    Of course, starthrower is completely right. At the end of the day it comes down to whether you like the music or not. (And I do.) The theory was just food for thought.
    I for one appreciate your insights into the musical form. Having spent (misspent?) most of my adult life in the proverbial rat race when time for listening to music or reading, other than policy circulars, was non existent, in retirement I am excited to "try" to make up for lost time. That also includes trying to understand basic Music Theory, reading peoples opinions who have far more experience than moi, is never a chore, just very informative. I looked at the score for the piece under discussion and with very limited knowledge I was astounded by the complexity and am in complete awe of all the musicians in all the quartets...that is probably why I am undecided which performance I prefer.....right now I "prefer" the one I am currently listening to!!! Thanks again!!

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  7. #1834
    Senior Member ELbowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Brio, I find the Largo to be a serene departure from the other movements and the easiest for me to follow so I enjoyed it quite a bit. The unison lines of the opening theme are quite memorable and really the only content I've been able to retain at this point. Well I located my Fred Sherry CD so I'll give this one a spin next.

    The less vigorous style of the Schoenberg Quartet on Chandos is pretty much their thing. But I enjoy their warm and beautiful sound. I noticed a marked contrast once I started in with the Fred Sherry Quartet CD.
    After saturation (most enjoyable) with this work over the past few days I too have decided that 3. Largo is my favourite section. What I am doing now is listening to what I have access to online specifically to the "Largo" for each one recording on a second go-around. It seems so far LaSalle Quartet is my bench-mark reference point. Thanks again!

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  9. #1835
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    Quote Originally Posted by HenryPenfold View Post
    I have a few other Arditti recordings that I like. If I can find the time, I'll give their Schoenberg a spin (assuming availability on Qobuz).




    Piano Concerto 1942, String Trio 1946, Violin Concerto 1936.

    The performance that clicked the violin concerto into focus for me was the astonishing performance by Hilary Hahn ........




    I also have that remarkable recording on cd and would agree with your comments.

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  11. #1836
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    No need for apologies. I thought your initial post for the Schoenberg quartet was superb, and these discussions are great for people who are studying and trying to understand the theory. I'm just saying don't feel like you can't enjoy a piece if you don't understand how the composer constructed the piece. I certainly don't pretend to understand how Schoenberg builds the musical structure from a row. I just enjoy listening to the musical conversation of a quartet. And of course the more you listen, the better you hear everything that's going on.
    I did say in my initial post that "familiarizing yourself with the composer's idiom" doesn't necessarily mean reading up on theory.

    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    After a while, your ears will start making connections for you. I only have the faintest idea how Boulez's Second Sonata is constructed, but over time my ears have picked up on patterns that allow me to enjoy the work.
    To be fair, my 2nd post wasn't a detailed analysis or anything. Still, it's a bit more than someone has to deal with if they're just looking to appreciate the music.

    On an unrelated note, I agree that the Hilary Hahn CD is really, really good. Those who are enjoying the VC may also want to hear the recent Isabelle Faust/Daniel Harding recording. In my humble opinion, it's even better than the Hahn.
    Last edited by Portamento; Jan-13-2021 at 20:26.

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  13. #1837
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    As with the Webern (and Berg when he is picked), my performance is the LaSalle Quartet from the high regarded 5 LP set recorded c. 1970. The performances in that set stand up to their reputation and the sound is certainly acceptable. I don't feel any need to seek out other performances. Not to over-simplify, but collectors generally pursue breadth or depth (who would have the time to do both?). I seek breadth. I would have to really love a work (hello, Tristan); need alternatives because of performance or sound quality issues or have stumbled across multiple performances through other couplings (the only possible explanation for my having more than one copy of Bolero) to own multiple copies.

    On no, I just admitted that there are certain works that I don't enjoy. While I admire anyone's willingness to revisit works that they don't connect with--especially since I try to do so also--there may come a time when you might want to admit that you don't like a particular work. I may not have the expertise to call any work, composer or genre bad, but I've certainly done the due diligence to know when I don't like a work (see Dunning-Kruger hypothesis for a discussion of the pitfalls).

    Having said that I do mostly enjoy Schönberg's 4th quartet. The difficulty that I have doesn't relate to 12 tone theory, but to an unrelated aspect of his music. I need to listen to a few more works in order focus my thoughts on the issue, but I will elaborate on this in a day or two.

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  15. #1838
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    I liked the LaSalle Quartet in the Largo as well. They play it beautifully. The 3rd & 4th movements are the heart of the quartet for me. It's remarkable music. Thanks for the selection.

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  17. #1839
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    Sorry if I bored everyone with my technical talk. I'm a composer, so that stuff's pretty interesting to me...

    Of course, starthrower is completely right. At the end of the day it comes down to whether you like the music or not. (And I do.) The theory was just food for thought.
    Keep it up, I find it interesting

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  19. #1840
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    To get really wonky, found a cool analysis here: http://www.eunomios.org/contrib/stolz1/stolz1.pdf
    A key characteristic of late Schoenberg is tonal allusions in the rows

    In his fourth quartet, Schoenberg divides the first violin melody1
    (the piece’s tone
    row) into four three-note cells, or trichords: (D-C#-A), (Bb-F-Eb), (E-C-Ab), and (G-F#-B).
    Since these four chords have distinct sonorities that reappear throughout the piece, they
    are labeled with chord names rather as pitch-class sets with Forte names or as cells with
    regard to their appearance in the row (i.e., (1,2,3), (4,5,6), etc.). The first trichord is a Dmajor-seventh chord with a missing third (labeled “Dma7
    (no3).” The second trichord is labeled “Bsus4,” a pseudo-symmetrical chord formed from two stacked perfect fourths.2 The third trichord, which is symmetrical, is an augmented triad, labeled “E+.” 3
    The final trichord of the row is G-major-seventh, but with the fifth omitted, labeled Gma7
    Capture.JPG

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  21. #1841
    Senior Member Malx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    Sorry if I bored everyone with my technical talk. I'm a composer, so that stuff's pretty interesting to me...

    Of course, starthrower is completely right. At the end of the day it comes down to whether you like the music or not. (And I do.) The theory was just food for thought.
    I sense that my post (#1827) may have prompted your comment - I was, obviously not successfully, trying to point out my lack of technical knowledge rather than suggesting I find the explanations 'boring'. I hope I have not offended anyone as this was not my intention.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    So interesting how perceptions differ! I’m listening to the Largo by the Wihan Quartet and I don’t hear as much logic and direction to it as the other movements, and it doesn’t really hold my attention. The Wihan is an underrated quartet BTW, I love their Beethoven recordings.

    Great to see some new (to this thread) members participating lately! ELbowe and SanAntone, would you like to choose a quartet sometime down the road?
    "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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  25. #1843
    Senior Member ELbowe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    So interesting how perceptions differ! I’m listening to the Largo by the Wihan Quartet and I don’t hear as much logic and direction to it as the other movements, and it doesn’t really hold my attention. The Wihan is an underrated quartet BTW, I love their Beethoven recordings.

    Great to see some new (to this thread) members participating lately! ELbowe and SanAntone, would you like to choose a quartet sometime down the road?
    Thanks very much Mr. B for the offer, most considerate and welcoming of you! For the foreseeable future I will leave that task to other experienced people in this august group as I lurk and learn the ropes. I have enjoyed the exercise very much, Yes indeed!! way down the road ...Thanks again!

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  27. #1844
    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post

    I've gotta disagree with you there. The Third Quartet is much more "strict" when it comes to serialism.
    I should have expressed the point better. What I mean is that the 12 tone technique in the 4th is less awkward. He's hit his stride, so as to speak. Perhaps more so in terms of serialism, rather than 12 tone.


    My favorite late Schoenberg piece by a decent margin is the String Trio. That one's flawless!
    Definitely one of mine, too.
    My new year's resolution is to buy less new music and listen more to the absolutely STUPID amount of music I already have.

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  29. #1845
    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Portamento View Post
    On an unrelated note, I agree that the Hilary Hahn CD is really, really good. Those who are enjoying the VC may also want to hear the recent Isabelle Faust/Daniel Harding recording. In my humble opinion, it's even better than the Hahn.
    I also have that CD, but I prefer the Hahn. Maybe because Hahn's was the recording that caused me to get the vc after many years. It was a true revelation. The Faust came later and did not have the same impact. I also have some excellent Bartok performed by Faust.
    Last edited by HenryPenfold; Jan-14-2021 at 02:10.
    My new year's resolution is to buy less new music and listen more to the absolutely STUPID amount of music I already have.

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