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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #211
    Senior Member Eramire156's Avatar
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    I've listened so far to two recordings the Hollywood String Quartet and the Vegh, and will listen to another recording later today.

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    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    I've listened to the Jerusalem and Pavel Haas Quartets recordings. I agree, it is a lovely work. Filled with great melodies. I'm struck by how much it reminds me of Dvorak's compositions at times. The melody near the beginning of the second movement sounded so much like the initial melody of Dvorak's 12th string quartet, I almost thought Dvorak was paying homage to Smetana, but I didn't see any reference on Wiki. I then listened to Ma Vlast for the first time. Same resemblance to Dvorak for me. I assume much of the similarity is due to the incorporation of Slavonic folk songs?
    A lovely quartet though. I'm sure I'll revisit it frequently. Pavel Haas has been my favourite of the three recordings I have listened to so far. A very rich sound.

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  4. #213
    Senior Member Eramire156's Avatar
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    Currently listening to the 1953 recording of the Smetana by the Smetana, besides the three studio recordings, there are three live recordings, from the 1950swhile on tour in Scandinavia, from London June 1965 (BBC Legends) and a DVD performance. So far the Smatana's performance is favorite, they found the humor in the polka, which neither the Hollywood or the Vegh managed to find, I'm still waiting on the Smetanas Denon recording which I ordered from Hmv Japan perhaps tomorrow.

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  6. #214
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    I've slacked off a bit on this one, but not because I don't like the work - on the contrary I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it's not as compositionally complex as some of the others we've done, so I've felt no need to listen more to clarify details, etc. However I will at least try the Smetana Quartet. Josquin13, have you thought about which quartet you'd like to choose for next week?

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    I've slacked off a bit on this one, but not because I don't like the work - on the contrary I thoroughly enjoyed it, but it's not as compositionally complex as some of the others we've done, so I've felt no need to listen more to clarify details, etc. However I will at least try the Smetana Quartet. Josquin13, have you thought about which quartet you'd like to choose for next week?
    I've only listened to it twice this week. I wouldn't describe it as any less complex than any of the others we've done, I just haven't been in the mood for string quartets (or really any chamber music) this week for one reason or another. I'll try and give it a few more listens later today and tomorrow.

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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Lost track of this thread after the Britten qt, got too busy w work(good problem given the circumstances). Smetana is a composer I have not listened to much. Its a well done work (settled on Takacs rec) , not sure if I will listen to it again after this week

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    Senior Member Eramire156's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Lost track of this thread after the Britten qt, got too busy w work(good problem given the circumstances). Smetana is a composer I have not listened to much. Its a well done work (settled on Takacs rec) , not sure if I will listen to it again after this week
    Welcome back. I'm currently listening to the Smetana Quartet's studio recording from 1976, it grabs you doesn't let go. Highly recommended.

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  13. #218
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    sbmonty writes, "I'm struck by how much it reminds me of Dvorak's compositions at times. The melody near the beginning of the second movement sounded so much like the initial melody of Dvorak's 12th string quartet, I almost thought Dvorak was paying homage to Smetana, but I didn't see any reference on Wiki."

    I agree. Did you know that Dvorak played the viola part in the first private performance of this quartet in 1878? (So I don't think it's a coincidence.)

    I've been listening to the Panocha Quartet (although I own the Smetana Quartet's 1962 Supraphon & 1976 Denon recordings). But I'll share my thoughts tomorrow, since I want to listen to it one more time.

    Allegro Con Brio writes, "Josquin13, have you thought about which quartet you'd like to choose for next week?"

    Yes, I've currently narrowed it down to three quartets--Arriaga's String Quartet No. 3, Faure's Op. 121, and Shostakovich's 4th String Quartet, which has long been a favorite of mine. I've give y'all my choice tomorrow.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    sbmonty writes, "I'm struck by how much it reminds me of Dvorak's compositions at times. The melody near the beginning of the second movement sounded so much like the initial melody of Dvorak's 12th string quartet, I almost thought Dvorak was paying homage to Smetana, but I didn't see any reference on Wiki."

    I agree. Did you know that Dvorak played the viola part in the first private performance of this quartet in 1878? (So I don't think it's a coincidence.)

    I've been listening to the Panocha Quartet (although I own the Smetana Quartet's 1962 Supraphon & 1976 Denon recordings). But I'll share my thoughts tomorrow, since I want to listen to it one more time.

    Allegro Con Brio writes, "Josquin13, have you thought about which quartet you'd like to choose for next week?"

    Yes, I've currently narrowed it down to three quartets--Arriaga's String Quartet No. 3, Faure's Op. 121, and Shostakovich's 4th String Quartet, which has long been a favorite of mine. I've give y'all my choice tomorrow.
    I didn't know that about Dvorak, that's an amazing connection. I want to listen once again as well.

    Those all sound like great choices. I'll try and make it a point to be a more active participant next week.

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    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    I feel like getting a head start on next week. I'm going to listen to Shostakovich and Fauré today. I had not heard of Arriaga. He died so young. Just days before his 20th birthday. If I get time, I'll listen to that too.

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  17. #221
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    I finished things today with the Smetana Quartet recording from 1953 (the only one of their versions available for streaming). Good mono sound and even better performance - idiomatic, soulful, and it held my attention in every bar. One thing I didn't know about this ensemble was that Vaclav Neumann, the somewhat obscure Czech conductor (who I know through his fantastic Dvorak symphony cycle with the Czech Phil), was the violist. Apparently, they also performed everything by memory, which may account for the sense of spontaneity and expressiveness I hear in their playing. In their hands the third movement sounded especially like something from late Beethoven. There's something about Slavic culture - their folk music, their performance style, their composers...that really appeals to me. It seems like a very joyful and fun-loving culture. They have a very rich musical legacy, as evidenced not only by their wealth of great composers but also their conductors (Kubelik, Talich, Kertesz, Ancerl). A wonderful listen this week for sure.

    Josquin, any of those choices would be perfect. Arriaga would certainly be a creative, outside-the-box pick; while you can never go wrong with Faure. And of course, Shosty is a natural choice as well - his 4th quartet is a favorite of mine too.

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  19. #222
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    I finished things today with the Smetana Quartet recording from 1953 (the only one of their versions available for streaming). Good mono sound and even better performance - idiomatic, soulful, and it held my attention in every bar. One thing I didn't know about this ensemble was that Vaclav Neumann, the somewhat obscure Czech conductor (who I know through his fantastic Dvorak symphony cycle with the Czech Phil), was the violist. Apparently, they also performed everything by memory, which may account for the sense of spontaneity and expressiveness I hear in their playing. In their hands the third movement sounded especially like something from late Beethoven. There's something about Slavic culture - their folk music, their performance style, their composers...that really appeals to me. It seems like a very joyful and fun-loving culture. They have a very rich musical legacy, as evidenced not only by their wealth of great composers but also their conductors (Kubelik, Talich, Kertesz, Ancerl). A wonderful listen this week for sure.

    Josquin, any of those choices would be perfect. Arriaga would certainly be a creative, outside-the-box pick; while you can never go wrong with Faure. And of course, Shosty is a natural choice as well - his 4th quartet is a favorite of mine too.
    I would agree about Slavic culture. From an outside perspective it looks like an awesome thing to be a part of, and I'm sure Smetana would have concurred.

    I suppose the Beethoven comparisons are inevitable, especially considering the work was largely a response to the onset of deafness. I found the slow movement more immediately accessible than any of the late Beethoven quartets, but I know what you mean; Smetana utilized a similarly tight-knit manner of developing his themes, and the music seemed to get across a deep pathos.

    I think this is a great quartet, and I really ought to explore more of Smetana from here. All I have of his (outside of the quartets) is the famous Má vlast, a recording by Paavo Berglund & the Staatskapelle Dresden. I love both conductor and orchestra, but I feel like they may be a mismatch for the music, and I never really got into the recording. But I will have to give it another chance.

    Re: next week's quartet, I would be most excited for the Shostakovich, as I'm going through a strong phase with his music lately. But any of the three would be a worthy choice.

    PS. Does the first movement remind anyone else of Sibelius? Not sure why, but I got a strong impression of that on my last listen earlier today...
    Last edited by flamencosketches; Apr-04-2020 at 23:38.

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  21. #223
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    Flamencosketches writes, "I think this is a great quartet, and I really ought to explore more of Smetana from here. All I have of his (outside of the quartets) is the famous Má vlast, a recording by Paavo Berglund & the Staatskapelle Dresden. I love both conductor and orchestra, but I feel like they may be a mismatch for the music, and I never really got into the recording."

    I like the Berglund/Staatskapelle Dresden recording--mainly because the orchestra plays so great & the EMI sound quality is excellent, but I agree that Rafael Kubelik or one of the other Czech conductors, like Karel Ancerl, are probably more idiomatic in this music, especially with a Czech orchestra. Kubelik recorded it several times, and I'm not sure which is his best performance. I have a recording that he made with the Boston Symphony Orchestra on DG, and like it. As a conductor, he's long been recognized for having a special affinity for Má vlast. But Ancerl, who I've not heard, might be even better. There's also Vaclav Neumann (and historically, Vaclav Talich).

    I listened to both Smetana Quartets yesterday, Nos. 1 & 2, and decided that the 1st quartet has the greater depth and substance. It's a remarkable string quartet. Thanks for recommending it.

    Okay, I've decided to pick Dmitri Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 4 for this coming week. Here's a good written introduction to the 4th, drawn from a superb guide to all 15 of Shostakovich's string quartets: http://www.quartets.de/compositions/ssq04.html. It gives some interesting background information about the history of the work, which should make for a richer listening experience.

    --I happen to like the recording by the St.Petersburg Quartet, on Hyperion, but unfortunately I can't find it on You Tube: https://www.hyperion-records.co.uk/d...dc=W3400_67154.

    --Among other digital era recordings, I've also liked the Danel Quartet--from their complete cycle on Fuga Libera (& later reissued by Alpha): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KhAq...ltosA&index=31.

    But I also treasure the older recordings by the Borodin Quartet (in their earlier lineups, on Chandos--1960s, and later for EMI--His Master's Voice/Melodiya--1970s, & reissued in the 1980s by EMI), and the Fitzwilliam Quartet (on Decca), who were friends with Shostakovich, and premiered his last three string quartets.

    --Borodin Quartet (1967--the original line up: Rostislav Dubinsky, Yaroslav Alexandrov, Dmitry Shebalin, & Valentin Berlinsky): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8q-JRNgddQ

    --Fitzwilliam Quartet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJduExH8UWk

    Historically, there's also the famous Beethoven Quartet, who gave the premieres of most of these quartets, I believe, including the 4th: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e11_...D1IB4&index=14

    But these are by no means the only worthwhile recordings. There are others, too--such as by the Shostakovich Quartet, Taneyev Quartet, and the Rasumowsky Quartet--which I don't know; along with the cycles by the Emerson, Brodsky, Pacifica, and Mandelring Quartets.

    There's also a recent recording from the current line up of the Borodin Quartet, which I've not heard, but it's on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nn9z...GldyM&index=14

    & I've not heard the Jerusalem Quartet's recording, either, which is likewise posted on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_J6W...xJ_I1k&index=5

    I hope that people find I've made a good choice...
    Last edited by Josquin13; Apr-05-2020 at 01:52.

  22. #224
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Awesome! Can't wait to hear thoughts on this one and spend some deep listening time with it...I think Shostakovich rewards repeated listening like few other composers. Official introduction coming tomorrow...

    02/23-03/01: Beethoven - String Quartet No. 14 (Vicente)
    03/01-03/08: Britten - String Quartet No. 3 (flamencosketches)
    03/08-03/15: Brahms - String Quartet No. 1 (Allegro Con Brio)
    03/15-03/22: Schubert - String Quartet No. 15 (Enthusiast)
    03/22-03/29: Haydn - String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 20/3 (Mandryka)
    03/29-04/05: Smetana - String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life" (flamencosketches)
    04/05-04/12: Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 4 (Josquin13)

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  24. #225
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Awesome! Can't wait to hear thoughts on this one and spend some deep listening time with it...I think Shostakovich rewards repeated listening like few other composers. Official introduction coming tomorrow...

    02/23-03/01: Beethoven - String Quartet No. 14 (Vicente)
    03/01-03/08: Britten - String Quartet No. 3 (flamencosketches)
    03/08-03/15: Brahms - String Quartet No. 1 (Allegro Con Brio)
    03/15-03/22: Schubert - String Quartet No. 15 (Enthusiast)
    03/22-03/29: Haydn - String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 20/3 (Mandryka)
    03/29-04/05: Smetana - String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life" (flamencosketches)
    04/05-04/12: Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 4 (Josquin13)
    Yes, Shostakovich's 4th is wonderful. I'm getting out my score and a performance by the Borodin Quartet in anticipation.

    Your frogs make me shudder with intolerable loathing and I shall be miserable for the rest of my life remembering them.
    — Mikhail Bulgakov, The Fatal Eggs

    When a true genius appears on the earth, you may know him by this sign, that all of the dunces are in confederacy against him.
    — Jonathan Swift

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