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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #2221
    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    Ok, so here is my pick. As always it was harder than I thought. It's been almost a year since we did the Ravel SQ, so I think that enough time has passed to do the usual travelling companion to that work: Debussy String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10

    From earsense.org:
    In 1893, Debussy composed his first important work, the String Quartet in g minor, Op. 10. It was the only work to which he attached an opus number or a key designation and it was the only work Debussy wrote in a conventional form. Outwardly, the quartet assumes the mold of a traditional string quartet comprising four movements: a first movement sonata, a rhythmic scherzo, a slow, lyrical movement and an energetic finale. But within this unremarkable template, the music sounds completely new. Debussy expanded the sound of the string quartet with a variety of novel textures and tonal effects ranging from delicate subtlety to ravishing grandeur. With exotic scales, unconventional chords, progressions and key changes, the music features melodies and harmonies unique for their time. Especially striking is the quartet's rhythmic vitality, spontaneous agility and poetic subtlety. With swiftly changing tempi, a wealth of dazzling figurations, cross-rhythms and the special shimmering or hovering pulsations typical of his music, Debussy captures a nuanced experience of time. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see many elements of Debussy's signature style within this early work: the sensuous languor of l'après-midi d'un faune, the kinetic energy of La Mer, the spice and color of his Iberian Images.

    FULL ARTICLE
    Last edited by BlackAdderLXX; Mar-07-2021 at 13:15.
    I'm realizing that my answer to the "favorite recording" question is usually Bruno Walter.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Wonderful! I’ve never liked it as much as the Ravel, but then I haven’t spent as much time comparing performances. Here is Trout’s list of recommended recordings:

    1. Quartetto Italiano (1965)
    2. Quatuor Ebène (2008)
    3. Alban Berg Quartet (1984)
    4. Melos Quartet (1979)
    5. Belcea Quartet (2000)
    6. Tokyo String Quartet (1977)
    7. Juilliard String Quartet (1989)
    8. Emerson String Quartet (1984)
    9. Quatuor Ysaÿe (1990)
    10. Hagen Quartett (1992)
    "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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  4. #2223
    Senior Member Helgi's Avatar
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    The Weinberg: What a great quartet! So much material. I still feel that I haven’t really grasped it, not fully, but it’s been coming together for me over the course of the week and I enjoy it more and more on each listen.

    I preferred the Pacifica recording at first but now I can’t really decide between them. I wonder why there aren’t more recordings available, especially with so many good quartets around (ensembles I mean).
    Last edited by Helgi; Mar-07-2021 at 15:46.

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    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Great choice - I haven't listened to this work in a while.

    I have 3 recordings: Belcea Quartet, Kodaly Quartet & Quartetto Italiano. Not sure which one is my preference.




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  7. #2225
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    Quote Originally Posted by BlackAdderLXX View Post
    Ok, so here is my pick. As always it was harder than I thought. It's been almost a year since we did the Ravel SQ, so I think that enough time has passed to do the usual travelling companion to that work: Debussy String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10

    From earsense.org:
    In 1893, Debussy composed his first important work, the String Quartet in g minor, Op. 10. It was the only work to which he attached an opus number or a key designation and it was the only work Debussy wrote in a conventional form. Outwardly, the quartet assumes the mold of a traditional string quartet comprising four movements: a first movement sonata, a rhythmic scherzo, a slow, lyrical movement and an energetic finale. But within this unremarkable template, the music sounds completely new. Debussy expanded the sound of the string quartet with a variety of novel textures and tonal effects ranging from delicate subtlety to ravishing grandeur. With exotic scales, unconventional chords, progressions and key changes, the music features melodies and harmonies unique for their time. Especially striking is the quartet's rhythmic vitality, spontaneous agility and poetic subtlety. With swiftly changing tempi, a wealth of dazzling figurations, cross-rhythms and the special shimmering or hovering pulsations typical of his music, Debussy captures a nuanced experience of time. With the benefit of hindsight, it is easy to see many elements of Debussy's signature style within this early work: the sensuous languor of l'après-midi d'un faune, the kinetic energy of La Mer, the spice and color of his Iberian Images.

    FULL ARTICLE
    An excellent choice, BlackAdderLXX! One of my favorites. Perhaps this was the piece when Debussy became the Debussy we know and love, albeit using a traditional classical vehicle. I have two recordings, the Quatuor Ebene and the Emerson String Quartet; while both are very good, the Quatuor Ebene is the one to have and the more idiomatic reading. I believe most of us have that disc, which also has sympathetic performances of the Ravel and Faure quartets.
    Last edited by SearsPoncho; Mar-07-2021 at 17:06.

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  9. #2226
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    I have exactly one recording, which I like but obviously cannot rate in comparison to others: The Quatuor Loewenguth, a DG mono recording from the early fifties. Looking forward to listening to that one and hear about further recommendations.

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    Senior Member Helgi's Avatar
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    I have the Quatuor Ebene so that's my starting point.

    As luck would have it I was already planning to focus my attention on Debussy this week, because of a concert I attended last night

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    Senior Member ELbowe's Avatar
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    Gosh.... but there are a lot of recordings of this work out there….
    For the first time (?) for the assigned listening I have two in my collection!
    Debussy • Ravel : Streichquartette Melos Quartett ‎–
    Deutsche Grammophon LP, Stereo 1979
    And Disc 12 Debussy Box set with Quatour Ebene
    R-2371439-1539134364-8931.jpeg.jpgR-12379270-1551332669-5480.jpeg.jpg

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    Senior Member Malx's Avatar
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    I have three to start with:

    Orpheus Quartet - Channel Classics
    Julliard Quartet - Sony
    Belcea Quartet - BBC MM

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Omg, i have tons of these. This could be some marathon.

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    Merl, you're going to need to take time off to listen to all the recordings.

    I prefer the Quatuor Ebene over the Emersons, but it's not just the performance, it's also the mic placement, balance, production and audio engineering. Do we have someone knowledgeable in the technical aspects of recording (perhaps Knorf?) who could enlighten us on these matters and discuss what is so special about the balance and audio quality of the Quatuor Ebene? It sounds more natural than the Emersons, which has an in-you-face, upfront aesthetic.

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  21. #2232
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SearsPoncho View Post
    Merl, you're going to need to take time off to listen to all the recordings.
    .
    It's the most recorded SQ around (apart from some of the Beethoven SQs - but I even think it outstrips them). I'll have to be selective. I know quite a few so I'll just do a shortlist and go at those.

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  23. #2233
    Senior Member HenryPenfold's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    It's the most recorded SQ around (apart from some of the Beethoven SQs - but I even think it outstrips them). I'll have to be selective. I know quite a few so I'll just do a shortlist and go at those.
    Here, I've cut the list down a bit for you so it's more manageable ..........

    Arcanto Quartet (Harmonia Mundi)
    Quatuor Ebene (Erato, 2008)

    Jerusalem Quartet (Harmonia Mundi, 2018)
    Takacs Quartet (Hyperion, 2016)
    Melos Quartet (DG)
    Belcea Quartet (Warner)
    Emerson Quartet (DG)
    Chilingirian Quartet (CfP)
    Talich Quartet (La Dolce Volta)
    Juilliard Quartet (Sony)
    Australian Quartet (ABC Classics)
    Orpheus Quartet (Channel Classics)
    Quatuor Modigliani (Mirare)
    Tokyo Quartet (Sony)
    Galatea Quartet (Sony)
    La Salle Quartet (DG)
    Brodsky Quartet (Chandos)
    Dante Quartet (Hyperion)
    Quatuor Debussy (Timpani)
    Bartok Quartet (Hungaroton)
    Alexander Quartet (VDE-Gallo)
    Momenta Quartet (Albany)
    Amaryllis Quartet (Genuin)
    Ceruti Quartet (MSR Classics)
    Quartetto Nous (Amadeus Arte)
    Sine Nomine Quartet (Artist Consort Edition)
    Acies Quartet (Gramola)
    Formosa Quartet (Warner Debut)
    Vegh Quartet (Orfeo)
    Alban Berg Quartet (Warner GROC)
    Ysaye Quartet (Wigmore Hall Live)
    Pro Arte Quartet (Archiphon)
    Juilliard Quartet (RCA)
    Quartetto Italiano (Urania)
    Stuyvesant Quartet (Bridge)
    Quartetto Italiano (Philips/Decca)
    Orlando Quartet (Philips)
    Kodaly Quartet (Naxos)
    Medici Quartet (Nimbus)
    Orlando Quartet (Accord)
    Rubin Quartett (Arte Nova)
    Quatuor Alcan (Analekta)
    Signum Quartet (Capriccio)
    Avalon Quartet (Cedille)
    Marlboro Festival Quartet (Marlboro Recording Society)
    Cuarteto Casals (HMGold)
    Cuarteto Latinoamericano (Urtext)
    Raphael Quartet (Globe)
    Ysaye Quartet (Decca)
    Fine Arts Quartet (Lodia)
    New Zealand Quartet (Atoll)
    Hagen Quartet (DG)
    The Lindsays (ASV)
    Orion Quartet (Delos)
    New Hungarian Quartet (Vox)
    Quatuor Calvet (Warner)
    Quatuor Hermes (La Dolce Vita)
    Quatuor Van Kuijk (Alpha)
    The London String Quartet (Music & Arts)
    The Hungarian Quartet (Music & Arts)
    Schoenberg Quartet (Etcetera
    Leipzig Quartet (MDG)
    Parkanyi Quartet (Praga)
    Quartetto Prometeo (Brilliant)
    Vertavo Quartet (Simax)
    Auryn Quartet (Tacet)
    Cleveland Quartet (Telarc)
    Kuijken Ensemble (Arcana)
    Borodin Quartet (Alto)
    Capet Quartet (Opus Kura)
    Quatuor Danel (Fuga Libera)
    Original Borodin Quartet (Chandos)
    Last edited by HenryPenfold; Mar-07-2021 at 20:11.

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  25. #2234
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Being an ardent fan of Debussy's music for over 35 years I should probably own a few major recordings of this work. I spotted one from my collection on Henry's list which is the Orion Quartet on Delos. That label issued an excellent 3 disc set of Debussy's chamber music featuring some first class musicians but packaged it in a rather generic looking cover of flowers that looks like it belongs on a motel wall. My other recording is on the budget Pilz label billed as the Intl String Quartet of NY. And that's the one I'm going to start with today. The individual musicians are not credited.
    “Now it is not good for the Christian’s health to hustle the Aryan brown,
    “For the Christian riles, and the Aryan smiles and he weareth the Christian down;
    “And the end of the fight is a tombstone white with the name of the late deceased,
    “And the epitaph drear: ‘A Fool lies here who tried to hustle the East’.”

    - Rudyard Kipling

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  27. #2235
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Here's the full list of 111 (up to now) quartets that have recorded this one and bear in mind some quartets have recorded it at least twice (eg Talich, Borodin, Juilliard, etc). So there's probably at least 120 recordings around. Jeezo, BA.

    IMG_20210307_195036.jpgIMG_20210307_201444.jpg

    Edit: I already have about 15 recordings of this one and most of those will definitely make the first cut. There's others here that I still have notes on (from the Ravel quartet review) so any dodgy recordings soundwise or any I already know are being bunged out early so that rules out recordings by the Orfords (really dislike the Quartet's sound), the Talich's 1988 recording (nowhere near as good as their later one), the Medicis (just listened, not a compwtive performance), New York and Della Scala (poorly recorded), Vlach (I've never been fond of this "classic' one), Nuovo (both the Debussy and Ravel recordings are slow and boring), International (the poor ensemble of the first movement was enough to rule this out immediately).

    I've got a shortlist with about 20 recordings on it already. Of the rest I'm going to fully listen to all the big hitters and skip listen to some lesser known recordings and if they resonate then they'll get a full play. I have loads of time on Tuesday to play stuff but I've already started. Listening to the Juilliards as I write.
    Last edited by Merl; Mar-07-2021 at 21:54.

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