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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #3661
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    Re humour, I remember someone saying to me that they thought that the string trio is comic. I don't hear it myself . . .
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-22-2021 at 17:46.

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    Senior Member allaroundmusicenthusiast's Avatar
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    I don't think humour is necessarily related to comedy, it is not one dimensional. But I remember listening to a BBC radio interview with Ligeti, and at one point he says that he wishes that the audience would laugh more during performances of his music. At that point they were talking about the Aventures, and while those could indeed be funny pieces, laughter for me is not exclusively related to humour, many times when listening to a gripping and fantastic work I laugh, just at the sheer awesomeness that genius can be.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by allaroundmusicenthusiast View Post
    laughter for me is not exclusively related to humour, many times when listening to a gripping and fantastic work I laugh, just at the sheer awesomeness that genius can be.
    I've found myself grinning from ear to ear listening to Penderecki's Threnody for the same reason. I don't think about the title. It was attached to the piece after it was composed and it was a brilliant move. The music alone suffices but associated with that title makes it more provocative for potential listeners, and music writers, as opposed to calling it string orchestra piece no.2 or something.
    "In the beginning there was noise. And the noise begat rhythm. And the rhythm begat everything else." - Mickey Hart

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    Senior Member Carmina Banana's Avatar
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    I listened once and didn’t get too much out of it.
    Then I watched the video, Climbing a Mountain and began to get a new appreciation for it.
    I know we have had this discussion before: music should be immediately apparent and should not require explanation, etc. but I do think that when you see the rehearsal process and hear the composer relate to the performers, it sort of allows you in to appreciate the music in a different way.
    First of all, Ferneyhough, comes off as an extremely intelligent person with fascinating ideas about music (I envy whoever it was that said they worked with him). The music is very dense and demands a lot from the listener as it does from the performer. I think that many of us are used to music happening in certain larger expanses of time and this piece forces us to examine each moment. In a way, the performers are the ones who get the most from the music. Through the enormous work required to play the notes and try to line up the ensemble, they must get to know this music intimately. They are probably aware of all of the minute relationships between their notes (even though they don’t a score in front of them).
    One virtue of this music I suppose is that we don’t take things for granted. Instead of a more or less constant tempo with familiar quarters and eighths, you have four people playing notes that are so rhythmically nuanced that they rarely ever happed the same time. If you don’t let it wash over you, but try to be hyper-conscious of everything, it can be very rewarding.
    At least, that is what I am thinking right now.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Carmina Banana View Post
    If you don’t let it wash over you, but try to be hyper-conscious of everything, it can be very rewarding.
    At least, that is what I am thinking right now.
    This is a great insight, and one that I have realized as well. There is certainly quite a bit of music where the “let it wash over you” approach is peachy, but with a lot of contemporary music I find that I really need to focus in on each individual gesture in order to get enjoyment from it. Previously I had been trying to make sense of the whole and it just wasn’t working; I just kept hearing a wall of dissonances. But I still fondly remember the two pieces that made this kind of music click for me - Boulez’s Sur incises and Takemitsu’s From me flows what you call time. I focused in really intently, and was able to hear each moment as a dollop of color or a shape on a canvas. It’s quite similar to how I listen to Bach. Now, Ferneyhough’s aesthetic is very different, but I do enjoy the process of listening to each little action and anticipating what will come next. I don’t think it really forms a coherent whole, but it provides moment-by-moment interest as layers of time are stacked and shattered into a series of micro-parcels. Now, whenever I hear a piece that I don’t like on first hearing, I try to change my “ear approach” with each successive listen until I’ve found the one that works for me - the “hyper-conscious” approach, the “let it wash over you” approach, or some combination of these. If it still doesn’t work for me, I conclude that the music just isn’t for me. Thankfully, this quartet worked for me the first time; and I was able to appreciate its construction even if it’s not something that I would necessarily want to revisit as a regular part of my listening diet.
    "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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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I'm curious to know what equipment people use for string quartet listening? Due to the nuances and conversational aspect of many quartets I get the most out of a piece using headphones so all of the voices sound like they're playing in my head. I'll usually listen late at night after everyone's gone to bed and there are no distractions.
    "In the beginning there was noise. And the noise begat rhythm. And the rhythm begat everything else." - Mickey Hart

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    ^Most of the time I use decent (but not superb) Soundcore earbuds, as I’m doing other things. The fidelity is surprisingly good but high registers (violins, sopranos, piccolos) are shrill and piercing. For my deep listening (like with the Ferneyhough), I use my Sennheiser headphones, which I think would stack up pretty well even to picky audiophiles - they were obtained via an Amazon deal for around $100 less than they would usually be.
    "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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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Did you buy those 599's they had for half price about year and a half ago? I bought a pair. I didn't like them at first but now that they're broken in they sound pretty good.
    "In the beginning there was noise. And the noise begat rhythm. And the rhythm begat everything else." - Mickey Hart

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  14. #3669
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Did you buy those 599's they had for half price about year and a half ago? I bought a pair. I didn't like them at first but now that they're broken in they sound pretty good.
    Yup! (To be more accurate, I received them as a Christmas gift). Funny enough, I recall thinking they were not too impressive when I first got them as well, but now I treasure them dearly.
    "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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    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Prices have dropped over 50%on my Sennheizer 550s

    https://camelcamelcamel.com/product/...context=search

  17. #3671
    Senior Member StevehamNY's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    I'm curious to know what equipment people use for string quartet listening? Due to the nuances and conversational aspect of many quartets I get the most out of a piece using headphones so all of the voices sound like they're playing in my head. I'll usually listen late at night after everyone's gone to bed and there are no distractions.
    A thousand percent yes, late at night, when the rest of the world is asleep...

    Quote Originally Posted by starthrower View Post
    Did you buy those 599's they had for half price about year and a half ago? I bought a pair. I didn't like them at first but now that they're broken in they sound pretty good.
    Another endorsement on the Sennheiser 599s for the late-night listening. (Because they're open back, they're not ideal for the daytime, or at least when other people or other noises are around you.) I've heard them described as an "audiophile gateway drug" and I can see (hear) why. I would probably try a 600 if I moved up, but right now I don't see the need.

    I also have a Dragonfly Red connected to my laptop, and a FiiO BTR5 for my phone. That's as far down the audiophile rabbit hole as I've gone, but we'll see how long that lasts!


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  19. #3672
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I usually use my AKG headphones or play SQs through one of my two stereos (NAD / Acoustic Energy upstairs, Marantz / Gale downstairs) but if Mrs Merl is in, and I'm downstairs, I'll use a set of Betron earbuds. I also like to get a full taste of each work by playing them in the car (loudly) - I do a lot of travelling and listening in the car, tbh. I've currently got about 15 versions of one particular quartet (that hasn't been picked yet) on the USB in the car. What I'll usually do is get a good flavour of SQs for this thread in the car but do detailed listening via headphones. You've just reminded me, I've got 2 other quartet round-ups to post today (before they've even been picked, lol).
    Last edited by Merl; Jul-23-2021 at 10:38.

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  21. #3673
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    I have Sony wh-1000xm4 wireless headphones that my wife gave me last Christmas, that I use in the living room upstairs, and JBL LSR305/LSR310S (active studio monitors/subwoofer) in my studio downstairs. I don't have headphones on for more than a symphony at one sitting. My studio speakers are probably the cheapest JBL you can get and they have some noise.

  22. #3674
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    ...that noise is my tinnitus right now...

  23. #3675
    Senior Member allaroundmusicenthusiast's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kjetil Heggelund View Post
    ...that noise is my tinnitus right now...
    Oh how I hate tinnitus. Mine is relatively ok, but I can't listen to music on headphones for more than a couple of hours, and that's with noise cancelling. I don't go nowhere near not-noise-cancelling headphones, let alone earbuds, only over-ear
    Last edited by allaroundmusicenthusiast; Jul-23-2021 at 23:11.

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