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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #286
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Nice to see such enthusiastic responses My current proposed list for the next 7 weeks, based off Josquin's, but adding the most recent responses:

    Bwv 1080
    Portamento
    Shosty
    sbmonty
    Merl
    Eramire156
    seitzpf

    We'll give Bwv 1080 another day to respond.
    He responded to me over PM, sounds like he's game, just mulling over his options.

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  3. #287
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Ok, this weeks quarter is ......drum roll......

    Elliott Carter #3

    For those not familiar with the piece, would recommend the Juilliard Quartet recording, not that the Arditti and Pacifica discs are not worthwhile, but IMO Juilliard gives the piece a clearer dramatic arc. The wikipedia article has a good description of the basic construction of the piece:

    The quartet is divided into a pair of duos, Duo I made up of the first violin and the cello, and Duo II made up of the second violin and viola. The two duos play in their own overlapping movements: distinct tempos, articulation, and material, neither coinciding with the other. The first duo is instructed to play rubato throughout its four movements, while the second plays in strict time in six movements. In addition, each movement is assigned a characteristic interval. The ten movements are not played continuously, but rather are fragmented and recombined, producing a total of 24 possible pairings of movements between the duos, as well as a solo statement of each movement. An additional coda brings the total number of sections to 35 (Mead 1983–84, 31–32). The duos rarely synchronize and frequently clash in complex polyrhythms and dissonances.

    Each duo uses a distinct interval class, dynamic range, phrasing, and bowing techniques per movement. The movements are (Mead 1983–84, 32): Duo I:

    A Furioso (major seventh)
    B Leggerissimo (perfect fourth)
    C Andande espressivo (minor sixth)
    D Pizzicato giocoso (minor third)
    Duo II:

    1 Maestoso (perfect fifth)
    2 Grazioso (minor seventh)
    3 Pizzicato giusto, mechanico (tritone)
    4 Scorrevole (minor second)
    5 Largo tranquillo (major third)
    6 Appassionato (major 6th)
    Carter intended to achieve the effect of two distinct ensemble groups playing two pieces at once, clashing in sound. However, he stressed the importance of observing the combinations of sound between the two sound sources.
    So the thing with Carter is independence of voices and rhythms, nothing comes together at the bar line. The difference in movements between the two duos create a complex pattern of interactions, combining and recombining material between the two. I find there is a real dramatic arc to the piece, so hope you all enjoy

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Well, this will be exciting. It is not the kind of music that I have found a home with yet, but a great excuse for me to start exploring deeper into contemporary classical. I expect some challenges - my conservative ears will undoubtedly be in revolt - but I have a feeling that discussing and studying this music will open new doors for me. There’s always a time for adventure!

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    Senior Member Eramire156's Avatar
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    I'm up for the challenge, love the Composer Quartet recording of one and two

    My string quartet No. 3, commissioned by The Julliard School for the Julliard String Quartet, divides the instruments into pairs: a Duo for Violin and Cello that plays in rubato style and one for Violin and Viola in more regular rhythm.

    The violin-Cello Duo presents four different musical characters: an angry, intense Furioso, a fanciful Leggerissimo, a Pizzicato giocoso and a lyrical Andante expressivo, in short sections one after the other in various orders, sometimes with pauses between. The Violin-Viola Duo, meanwhile, presents the six contrasting character listed in the program. During the Quartet each character of each Duo is presented alone and also in combination with each character of the other Duo to give a sense of ever-varying perspectives of feelings, expression, rivalry and cooperation.

    Elliott Carter


    The Jack Quartet on YouTube

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6njANe...ature=youtu.be
    Last edited by Eramire156; Apr-12-2020 at 09:03.

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  8. #290
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Yep, like ACB, this is gonna be a challenge for me too. Im not a lover of Carter's work but this one may surprise me.

    Edit: after listening, I deemed this a step too far for me.
    Last edited by Merl; Apr-12-2020 at 10:44.

  9. #291
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eramire156 View Post
    I'm up for the challenge, love the Composer Quartet recording of one and two
    They also made a recording of 3, released by Musical Heritage Society. If it’s hard to find I can let people have it.

  10. #292
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eramire156 View Post

    My string quartet No. 3 . . . a sense of ever-varying perspectives of feelings, expression, rivalry and cooperation.

    Elliott Carter
    This is very ambitious.

    It’s one thing to create six pieces of music which express different things, give them to different instruments and then combine them. It’s quite another to create in a string quartet “a sense of ever-varying perspectives of feelings, expression, rivalry and cooperation.” Counterpoint does not necessarily create a new perspective on what’s being expressed by each voice. It may just sound like different voices singing simultaneously and ignoring each other.

    But reading Carter’s note made me think of the simultaneous narratives that Faulkner worked with in The Sound and the Fury.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-12-2020 at 10:22.

  11. #293
    Senior Member Eramire156's Avatar
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    Default "Musical violence"? two contrasting views

    from Fanfare reviews of the Pacifica Quartet recording

    Entering the world of these later quartets is the musical equivalent of being invited to a fancy party, only to find when you arrive that you must walk barefoot over shards of glass to get there. The musical shards of these quartets, which I heard here for the first time, are consistently jagged and unpleasant, and continue to develop in their jagged, unpleasant way through 20 to 30 minutes per piece.

    The playing of the Pacifica Quartet is consistently alert, alive, musical, and passionate—at least, passionate insofar as their dramatic commitment to this musical violence is concerned.
    Lynn René Bayley

    No. 3 ... is the point where many folks gave up on the composer, but where I was (and still am) blown away. The Third is one of the greatest monuments of High Modernism. Yes, it’s unbelievably complex, but it has an intensity, breadth, and passion unlike almost anything else in the Carter output. One really hears the interaction, indeed the collision, between its worlds as they revolve around one another.
    Robert Carl
    Last edited by Eramire156; Apr-12-2020 at 11:55.

  12. #294
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Here is a good excerpt from Schiff’s book on Carter:

    I]t is certainly not necessary (or even possible!) to hear everything at once. The attention should be allowed to wander freely among the instruments and pairs, hearing them separately or in different combinations – each listener, in effect, “making up” his own music from what he chooses to hear. The musical language is far advanced and extremely difficult, but this “translation” of Carter’s expression into the language of each listener’s own personal experience is really the most important interaction in the piece.191




    Unfortunately there is not an easy way to get the score, I have a hard copy, but there do not seem to be even extracts available online. If you have a Scribd account there is a scan uploaded there. Also, excerpts from both the score and Carter’s sketches can be found in this excellent dissertation by Laura Emmery

    https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/wd375w49p

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    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Well, I didn’t dislike it. That’s a start, right? Thanks for the Youtube link. This performance introduced me not only to Elliott Carter’s music but also to the JACK Quartet, who are exciting and impressive performers. I feel like I am getting more from this piece by watching and listening than by listening alone. I can follow the interactions between the members of the duos and then between the duos. I am sure that I would enjoy a live performance of this piece. I can imagine members of the audience: some intensely concentrated with chin in hand, others looking around furtively to see if other people are as confused as they are, some dozing off or looking at their iPhones. And the fellow-feeling at the end during the applause: we made it!

    Reading some commentary on this piece, I realize that there is no way I will be able to perceive and appreciate more than a tiny fraction of its complexity. As I listen to it again, I think that I can only let it wash over me as I perhaps pick up on a few of the most notable qualities. Overall, I am finding this a most interesting and worthwhile experience!

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    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    Well, I'll give this one a spin, he said with not a little trepidation
    My first go around with Carter. Thanks for the recommendation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Here is a good excerpt from Schiff’s book on Carter:

    I]t is certainly not necessary (or even possible!) to hear everything at once. The attention should be allowed to wander freely among the instruments and pairs, hearing them separately or in different combinations – each listener, in effect, “making up” his own music from what he chooses to hear. The musical language is far advanced and extremely difficult, but this “translation” of Carter’s expression into the language of each listener’s own personal experience is really the most important interaction in the piece.191




    Unfortunately there is not an easy way to get the score, I have a hard copy, but there do not seem to be even extracts available online. If you have a Scribd account there is a scan uploaded there. Also, excerpts from both the score and Carter’s sketches can be found in this excellent dissertation by Laura Emmery

    https://www.alexandria.ucsb.edu/downloads/wd375w49p
    I have Schiff's book. I have the 1998 edition (it's marked "New Edition" on the front) and that quote is not on p 191. Which chapter is it in?

    Between now and when I last thought about Carter, I've been studying Cage. And that comment that Schiff makes (is it something Carter thought or is it something Schiff thinks?) reminds me of Cage's ideas about listening. For example, Cage writes in "Experimental Music: Doctrine" in Silence

    Where, on the other hand, attention moves towards the observation and audition of many things at once, including those that are environmental — becomes, that is, inclusive rather than exclusive — no question of making. in the sense of forming understandable structures. can arise (one is a tourist). and here the vaned 'experimental' is apt providing it is understood not as descriptive of an act to be later judged in terms of success and failure, but simply as of an act the outcome of which is unknown.
    In Experimental Music, Michael Nyman attributes this comment to Cage (Rob Haskins asked him about it and he replied that he can't remember the source)

    I would assume that relations would exist between sounds as they would exist between people and that these relationships are more complex than any I would be able to prescribe. So by simply dropping that responsibility of making relationships I don't lose the relationship. I keep the situation in what you might call a natural complexity that can be observed in one way or another.

    Seeing your Schiff quote makes me wonder if Carter and Cage thought in the same way about the relation between composing and listening. And it makes me wonder whether this is a distinctively American attitude.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-12-2020 at 15:27.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    I suspect this will be the week we lose a lot of folks who are not open to giving this music a chance (and listening to the 30 seconds samples of each movement, I can't say I blame them). And though I'm not a huge fan of Carter's music, I'm game for the challenge. I have found enjoyments in some of his works in the past, but have not ventured to trying his much-lauded string quartets yet. I think I will purchase a digital copy of the Juilliard cycle so I can have it right away. Meanwhile I'll start with the JACK Quartet video posted above (funny, I just ordered a CD of the JACK Quartet playing Lachenmann).

    A very bold and inspired choice, BWV1080.

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  21. #299
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I have Schiff's book. I have the 1998 edition (it's marked "New Edition" on the front) and that quote is not on p 191. Which chapter is it in?

    Between now and when I last thought about Carter, I've been studying Cage. And that comment that Schiff makes (is it something Carter thought or is it something Schiff thinks?) reminds me of Cage's ideas about listening. For example, Cage writes in "Experimental Music: Doctrine" in Silence



    In Experimental Music, Michael Nyman attributes this comment to Cage (Rob Haskins asked him about it and he replied that he can't remember the source)




    Seeing your Schiff quote makes me wonder if Carter and Cage thought in the same way about the relation between composing and listening. And it makes me wonder whether this is a distinctively American attitude.
    The Schiff quote is in the dissertation I linked to, I don’t see it in my copy either.

    I think the common thread between Cage and Carter is Ives. Carter abstracted, systematized and learned to tightly control the independent and clashing voices found in Ives’ music whereas Cage ran with the random and accidental aspect of it

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  23. #300
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Here is a good excerpt from Schiff’s book on Carter:

    I]t is certainly not necessary (or even possible!) to hear everything at once. The attention should be allowed to wander freely among the instruments and pairs, hearing them separately or in different combinations – each listener, in effect, “making up” his own music from what he chooses to hear. The musical language is far advanced and extremely difficult, but this “translation” of Carter’s expression into the language of each listener’s own personal experience is really the most important interaction in the piece.191
    I did find a lot of Carter quite difficult but never the quartets, which somehow seemed very communicative from the first and which I was always convinced were masterpieces. Your quote from Schiff (is it specifically about the 3rd quartet or all of them or even all of Carter's music?) may explain how/why. Anyway for me this quartet is a great choice because I love it a lot but can still certainly get more out of it by giving it some more attention!

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