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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #526
    Member DTut's Avatar
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    Welcome to the thread! We just hang out and listen to great music - that’s all there is to it Would you like your name to added to the list of future quartet nominators?

    I'm late to the party but please add me to the list.

  2. #527
    Senior Member Eramire156's Avatar
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    Giving my second listen to the Zehetmair this morning,loving it, so far have listened to the Melos, Fine Arts and Pacifica, will listen to the Hagen,and Dover and maybe couple more before the week is out.

    Joaquin glad to have you back,and to hear you are on the mend.

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  4. #528
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    My listen to the Eroica Quartet yesterday solidified my impressions, which are very similar to others - this is a wonderful quartet! I can’t really put my finger on why, but I find that this music sounds fresher and more vibrant than much of Schumann, and I think his “pianistic” outlook actually creates some unique textures (like the arpeggiated accompaniment in mvmt 3 I think) that other composers would not have tried (though I still find his strange obsession with dotted march rhythms somewhat annoying and even disturbing). I think my goal of appreciating Schumann more this week is definitely being achieved. And the Eroica was a fine performance in piercing sound, with the period instruments adding a clarity of line and counterpoint that I had not heard before.

    Wow, so great to see such lively participation here! This has become a surprisingly popular thread, and I think it serves as a peaceful island of cordial discussion about great music in this forum and in life in general. Anyway, now with four more participants added to the nominating list this week we are set up through at least the middle of July! This week, it’s Merl’s choice. Current schedule:

    05/10-05/17: Merl
    05/17-05/24: Eramire156
    05/24-05/31: Knorf
    05/31-06/07: seitzpf
    06/07-06/14: TurnaboutVox
    06/14-06/21: calvinpv
    06/21-06/28: 20centrfuge
    06/28-07/05: Euler
    07/05-07/12: Iota
    07/12-07/19: DTut

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  6. #529
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    I'm not sure what to say. I haven't heard the Hagen but of those I have heard the Zehetmair is excellent. But then I am a big fan of the occasional Zehetmair Quartet's recordings. The work is lovely, of course. Schumann needs players who can allow his vein of fantasy full rein without losing track of the work.

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  8. #530
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Crap, I'm next up. I betta start thinking about an SQ. Got a few in mind. I may try and surprise you (but then again I may play it safe).
    Last edited by Merl; May-08-2020 at 17:52.

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  10. #531
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    Crap, I'm next up. I betta start thinking about an SQ. Got a few in mind. I may try and surprise you (but then again I may play it safe).
    Do your worst!


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  12. #532
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    I think I'm finished for this week, having listened two times to the Doric Quartet playing Schumann's SQ No. 1. I haven't had time to listen comparatively to other performances, but I find the piece delightful and am now looking for a good performance on CD.

    What's most remarkable to me about this piece is how easy it is to appreciate. I've been reading various music critics' take on this composition during the week, and one common idea they have about it is that it is too pianistic and therefore overly simple as a SQ. To me, there is an obvious "family resemblance" between this composition and Schumann's piano writing. This is really the first time I've listened seriously to a Schumann SQ (I'm sure many of us are very acquainted with his piano works and symphonies but not the SQs), but it is *very* Schumann in melodic and harmonic conception. And it is simple in a way. It is easy to follow compared to Brahms, for example, by which I mean that the four parts seem to me to interact in less complex ways than in Brahms or, say, Dvorak. This is not at all disappointing to me, but rather quite charming. I mean, not every Romantic SQ has to drive me to stand up, sit down, and cradle my head in my hands.

    For anyone who doesn't much like Schumann (and I know there are many who don't), I imagine this work was pretty tiresome. Well, I don't need to say "imagine," since there have been some comments to that effect. I'm not a huge Schumann fan, but he's always worked for me effortlessly on all levels, maybe a little too effortlessly to be fully engaging, actually. But I'm really happy to have experienced this work, and now I'm looking forward to listening to the other two SQs which, I read, were conceived by Schumann to be a sort of three-part larger work.

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  14. #533
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Nearly Sunday here and as its my go at this week's listening I thought I'd put it up early. I have going through my recordings and trying to settle on a decent candidate for the past couple of days. My obsession with Beethoven's SQs would surely mean that I pick one of those? Well no, I thought that was too predictable. I considered several including Fibich 2, Villa-Lobos 15, Borodin's beautiful no. 2, Tchaikovsky 1...in the end I went with a 20th century work and one that I like a lot...

    KORNGOLD STRING QUARTET NO. 2 in E-flat major, OP. 26

    Why? Well I don't know. Maybe because it reminds me of Beethoven in places. It just felt like a nice middle ground. It's an energetic SQ full of lyricism (the reason I enjoy Korngold's violin concerto so much). lt's certainly a work that has a very Viennese feel to it (or that's maybe what I hear). Korngold's second string quartet was written in 1933 just before he moved to Hollywood. There he arranged Mendelssohn's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' for Max Reinhard's film version. He also wrote original film scores, soon signing an exclusive contract with Warner Bros, and winning his first Oscar for Best Film Score in 1936.

    In comparison with the first quartet, a decade earlier, Korngold's second string quartet is far less well known and is today sadly neglected. Critics at the time of the first performance in 1934 were generally impressed and reviews were favorable in the main, but public appreciation was simply not forthcoming." The marked chromaticism and the aural eccentricities of the harmonic language explain why the quartet has fallen from the regular repertoire" (not my quote) however I like it and particularly enjoy the 4th movement. The work has a lilting Viennese lightness and uses "dance forms, and touches of Impressionism". It premiered in Vienna on 16th March 1934 but disappeared for many years and had to wait until 1997 for its UK premiere. Its made up of four movements:

    1 Allegro
    2 Intermezzo (Allegretto con moto)
    3 Larghetto (Lento)
    4 Waltz (Tempo di Valse)



    If you're not familiar with it give it a try and say what you think. I have a couple of recordings of this but I heard one I hadn't heard today and it's surpassed the others so looks like another investment will be necessary (this site costs me a fortune).
    Last edited by Merl; May-10-2020 at 00:13.

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  16. #534
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Awesome! I’m totally unfamiliar with Korngold outside of his violin concerto, so I’m looking forward to it. I guess I always seem to gloss over him because he was mainly a film composer, but I’m sure his “concert hall” music has lots of good stuff to explore.
    "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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  18. #535
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Awesome! I’m totally unfamiliar with Korngold outside of his violin concerto, so I’m looking forward to it. I guess I always seem to gloss over him because he was mainly a film composer, but I’m sure his “concert hall” music has lots of good stuff to explore.
    He was much better than his 'film composer' tag. He wrote some truly wonderful music. There' s a line through Beethoven and Mahler to his music but you can hear drops of Stravinsky in there too. An exceptionally talented man.
    Last edited by Merl; May-10-2020 at 00:32.

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  20. #536
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Cool choice, Merl. I know absolutely nothing about Korngold, so hopefully this will be a suitable introduction to his music, though I know he is widely renowned as a great orchestrator in the big, lush post-Romantic style and up until this point I didn't even know he wrote any string quartets.

    I'm listening to the Fine Arts Quartet performance of the Schumann A minor SQ now. So far, so good. It's overall a little slower than the Zehetmair I've been listening to (my definite favorite of those I've heard) and strikes me as maybe a less inspired performance, but maybe the sharper, more angular, accentuated lines show a side to the music that is worth hearing. They almost play it as if it were a Beethoven middle quartet, while the Zehetmair & even the Melos tend to play up the deep lyricism more. Most successful I think is the slow movement, where the heaviness seems to be conveying some kind of emotional message.

    Final thoughts for the week: this quartet is amazing. I never knew it as well as I did the A major quartet, but now I'm glad that I am getting to know it better. There is the same kind of deep passion and sensitivity that makes the best of his works so special. A word that always comes to mind for me with Schumann's greatest music is "rawness". It seems like everything in life touched him so deeply and he was able to convey that special kind of sensitivity in his music like no other. I find it extremely relatable on a personal level. In short, Schumann proves once again here why he is one of my favorite composers. I'm blanking on who picked it, all I know is it's someone without an avatar nevertheless, great choice!

    PS. Still need to track down the Eroica Quartet recording...

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  22. #537
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    PS. Still need to track down the Eroica Quartet recording...
    Here you go:


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  24. #538
    Senior Member Shosty's Avatar
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    The Schumann quartet did not work for me, or rather I didn't work for it. I listened to it at the worst possible time (stress and anxiety) and I barely managed to listen through to the end. That's definitely my fault and I will give the Schumann another try this week hopefully.
    I'm totally unfamiliar with Korngold as well, and look forward to getting to know his music.

    edit: Just listened to the Korngold via the youtube video Merl provided in his post, and I liked it very much. The second and third movements were my favorites. The intro to the second movement is fantastic.
    Can anyone recommend other good recordings?
    Last edited by Shosty; May-10-2020 at 09:58.

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  26. #539
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Btw, if you're unfamiliar with Korngold read his biography over at Wiki (its actually fairly accurate for once). His wife's memoirs were even more interesting, if you get the chance to read those (interestingly she barely mentions his Hollywood film-scoring career).

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erich_Wolfgang_Korngold
    Last edited by Merl; May-10-2020 at 10:32.

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  28. #540
    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    Another exciting choice! I haven't heard any Korngold before, so this will be a good opportunity to remedy that.

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