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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #3706
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    I listened to some of his other stuff on Bandcamp. I definitely get the Feldman vibe. And I like the album photography and aesthetics. It has the look and feel of a hip independent jazz label rather that classical music.
    "In the beginning there was noise. And the noise begat rhythm. And the rhythm begat everything else." - Mickey Hart

  2. #3707
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Starthrower, I can only add my voice to the choir and say I’m so sorry for what happened to you. I sincerely hope that you will be able to recover quickly and get everything back in order.

    It’s strange to think that the last two week’s pieces have both come from the last decade, yet they are so diametrically different. Contemporary music shares several characteristics, but it is most certainly not characterized by one uniform style like some often claim. I found this piece by Wollschleger to be like a jigsaw puzzle in sound, as opposed to the machine gun of ideas that was the Ferneyhough. Immediately in the first couple minutes I had strong sensation of being on the beach. The white-noise sounds were like the crashing of the waves and whistling of the wind; the occasional full tones like the squawks of seagulls. However, this quickly morphs into an interminable soundscape of swirling abstraction; frankly, I found the tones displeasing to the ear and tough to visualize as music. However, I agree with Merl that around 12 minutes in the piece picks up, with some interesting rhythmic complexity (both real and implied) and a wider array of tones beside the same triad that is basically just sounded alone for the first several minutes. Just like the Ferneyhough, I found it to be an enriching and rewarding experience that is not necessarily one I would want to repeat. It’s a mental exercise of interpretation, as if the traditional job of the performers to interpret the meaning of the music has been left to the listener. The piece is clearly about the boundary between noise and music, organized and unorganized sound, the purely natural and the aesthetic. I may not be in full agreement about the necessity of breaking these boundaries, but I appreciate any work of art that challenges preconceptions, and this sure does that. A wonderfully bold and creative choice, Portamento.
    "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. #3708
    Senior Member Malx's Avatar
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    I've given 'White Wall' a few listens now and fear I can add little to what has gone before.

    The first section didn't do a lot for me with the very early parts reminding me of the sound of ice-skates on a rink, followed by fingernails being dragged over chalkboard (that may be a little harsh). As others have suggested there is more rhythmic elements evident in the second section. I feel as with so many modern pieces I may have been more receptive if the work was of shorter duration - am I reaching that conclusion because the material is spread too thin or am I just hoping the end will come more quickly - that I'm not sure about.

    As is always the case I welcomed the chance to give this a listen and to be made aware of the different directions new composers are moving but I have to say I can't see myself rushing back to listen again after this week.
    Last edited by Malx; Jul-28-2021 at 12:13.

  5. #3709
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Starthrower, I can only add my voice to the choir and say I’m so sorry for what happened to you. I sincerely hope that you will be able to recover quickly and get everything back in order.
    Thanks, ACB! Forgive me for going off topic again but I just wanted to share this:

    Things are turning around for the better. By a miracle my wallet was found in a neighbor's yard two days later with everything intact minus some petty cash. Apparently there were 4-5 people involved and some took off on foot. The police have arrested one person and have some of the others on video. They ditched my car in someone's yard that had surveillance cameras. My insurance co. set me up with a rental and my car is headed to the shop for repairs so we're getting back on our feet.

    This incident was a big wake up call for me. I'm now paying much closer attention to home safety and security issues which I took for granted for 35 years never having been a victim in the past. I got my locks changed, and I'm having motion sensor lights installed tomorrow. I will never go to sleep again with my windows open as much as I love fresh air. My car was found full of stolen merchandise including a bag of sports clothing purchased in Zagreb, Croatia, and a 30 gallon size bag of sneakers, so these delinquents were ripping off a lot of people. They probably have a garage full of stuff they are fencing.
    "In the beginning there was noise. And the noise begat rhythm. And the rhythm begat everything else." - Mickey Hart

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  7. #3710
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Malx View Post
    I've given 'White Wall' a few listens now and fear I can add little to what has gone before.

    The first section didn't do a lot for me with the very early parts reminding me of the sound of ice-skates on a rink, followed by fingernails being dragged over chalkboard (that may be a little harsh). As others have suggested there is more rhythmic elements evident in the second section. I feel as with so many modern pieces I may have been more receptive if the work was of shorter duration - am I reaching that conclusion because the material is spread too thin or am I just hoping the end will come more quickly - that I'm not sure about.

    As is always the case I welcomed the chance to give this a listen and to be made aware of the different directions new composers are moving but I have to say I can't see myself rushing back to listen again after this week.
    This is much how I feel. I needed much more in the first section to hook me in. Still, its more exposure to pieces i find difficult and its helping me appreciate the complexity of SQ writing and performance. Thanks, Portamento, for choosing this one.
    Last edited by Merl; Jul-28-2021 at 19:40. Reason: Wrong word!

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  9. #3711
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    Re this quartet, it has a pulse! That's new, the way it creates a tactus you can tap your feet to is interesting. Sciarrino's very late quartet do this, in a different way.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jul-28-2021 at 15:04.

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    Thanks, everyone, for giving this one a fair shake even if it's not something you'd normally listen to! The first movement, with its meticulously placed sounds and vast emptiness, definitely had enough to draw me in. It helps that I have a high tolerance for squeaks and squawks that most other people would find annoying - I think it's because of all the free jazz madness I've listened to. The string quartet as a medium is so damn versatile!

    I came across the following quote in a dissertation about Gilles Deleuze (which, strangely enough, is dedicated to Wollschleger):

    To further illustrate the continuous variability of affection, Deleuze employs a medieval illustration: the white wall. Although the wall is white, it is still made-up of continuous variations of its whiteness, however subtle they may be. We cannot make out figures on the wall unless we trace shapes on it. Nonetheless, we can still say that the wall is made-up of individuals, even without resorting to extrinsic relations between extending shapes. Because the wall is made-up entirely of variations, there are individual degrees of change. These degrees then would be intensities. So, the whiteness of the wall in general is a quality. When we determine shapes on the wall, we have magnitudes of extensive length. But, what makes up these extensive qualities is something more intrinsic: the degrees of variation, that is, the quantitative intensities. (Cory Shores, Difference and Phenomena)

    I cannot parse any of the philosophical shoptalk, but the imagery is cool and certainly fits the piece.
    Last edited by Portamento; Jul-28-2021 at 15:58.

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  13. #3713
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    The string quartet as a medium is so damn versatile!
    That it is! And I applaud the modern music ensembles who work with contemporary composers to bring these unorthodox musical ideas and scores to life. There are some Zoom conversations with Wollschleger on YT and I'm interested to hear about his compositional process and inspiration for ideas to create these works.
    "In the beginning there was noise. And the noise begat rhythm. And the rhythm begat everything else." - Mickey Hart

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  15. #3714
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Sbmonty - the nomination falls to you next week!

    Current schedule:
    sbmonty
    Merl
    Knorf
    calvinpv
    newyorkconversation
    Malx
    BlackAdderLXX
    starthrower
    annaw
    SearsPoncho
    HenryPenfold
    Helgi
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    GucciManeIsTheNewWebern
    StevehamNY
    FastkeinBrahms
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    Enthusiast
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    "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

  16. #3715
    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    I'm on it!
    I have enjoyed listening to the last couple of selections. I love being challenged and they were both challenging, but in very different ways. The erudite and enthusiastic contributors make the week's selection just so much fun to read. I thank you all.

  17. #3716
    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    So I'm going to post now as I work tonight and tomorrow. I've considered a few this week. Verdi's quartet. Dohnányi's 2nd or 3rd. Both are really nice works. I listened to Nielsen's No. 2 in F minor, and really liked it. The second movement is amazing. Saint-Saëns No. 1 was another consideration. But ultimately I decided on Beethoven String Quartet No. 13 in B Flat, Op. 130.

    I've always enjoyed this late quartet and am intrigued to read your comments. I'm hoping we can also include the Grosse Fugue in the discussion, but if group consensus feels that is a separate work, then that's fine too. I hope you enjoy this week's nomination.

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  19. #3717
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Now this is the big boy - the one we’ve all been waiting for. Despite the completely justified claims of Schubert, Haydn, Mozart, Debussy, Ravel, and several competitors from Beethoven’s own ouevre to the greatest string quartet of all time, this is it IMHO, just barely edging out Ravel's. It has been my favorite LvB quartet pretty much since I first heard it. I still fondly remember my expressions of awe and entrancement hearing the Grosse Fuge for the first time - and yes, I believe that it is an essential part of this quartet and the only “real” finale, but it will be interesting to hear peoples’ opinions on which finale works best. I’ve heard it described as more of a serenade because it has so many disconnected movements, but it has so much downright magnificent music that I find it impossible to criticize. And let’s not forget the Cavatina moved the man himself to tears.
    "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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  21. #3718
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Jeezo. I was hoping for another easy week. Looks like I'm digging my old notes out again but as it was the last quartet I reviewed back then it has the most concise and up to date notes. It will be nice to take in some of the period performances and one-offs that didn't feature in my original round-up (I have a soft spot for the Edding Quartet's period account). At least you didn't take mine for next week, Sbmonty. Strangely enough I've considered all your mentioned alternatives too, sbmonty. Great minds. Btw, my reviews will be on the revised quartet with alternative allegro ending but I'll highlight those that use the original Grosse Fugue in my notes. Personally, I prefer the Allegro ending as I feel the that the inclusion of the Grosse Fugue takes something from the cavatina, that perhaps it's too much of a jolt. I do like hearing the Grosse Fugue on its own as its a piece that is unlike anything else he wrote in the quartet medium. It does change how you hear the piece but I think it adds to the middle movements having a lighter finale (let's face it you coukd never call the Grosse Fugue light).
    Last edited by Merl; Aug-01-2021 at 12:35.

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  23. #3719
    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    This is a huge work. And after 40 years as a classical music listener I should be more familiar with this piece but I'm not. I started listening too late last night so I'll have begin again. I'll be a lurker this week reading the comments and recording suggestions. I do have a set by the Tokyo Quartet on RCA which has beautiful sound.
    "In the beginning there was noise. And the noise begat rhythm. And the rhythm begat everything else." - Mickey Hart

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  25. #3720
    Senior Member Kjetil Heggelund's Avatar
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    Beethoven no. 13 is one I didn't listen so much to. I made a playlist with Tetzlaff, Vertavo and Ehnes for starters and tried to steer away from Grosse Fuge, but the Tetzlaff got it there, since it's one of the few things I can't stand
    Last weeks quartet I listened to once and believe I would like it more in a live concert. It was kind of boring
    ...wait! I've heard this enough to know pretty well. There are some absolute melodies of forever here, that I could find myself whistling in the supermarket...
    Last edited by Kjetil Heggelund; Aug-01-2021 at 14:30.

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