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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #61
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    ^Thanks for the real link...no idea why the original one doesn't work. I'll definitely add the Alban Berg to my list of recordings to hear this week. I appreciate their lyrical warmth in works that may not immediately appear such.
    What did you think of the Emerson recording?

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    What did you think of the Emerson recording?
    I didn't listen all the way through today, but the outer movements were certainly very assertive, even aggressive rhythmically. I generally haven't enjoyed many of the Emersons' recordings, I find them too harsh and strident. I really wasn't liking too much of what I was hearing, so I think I'll switch to the Alban Berg tomorrow.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    I didn't listen all the way through today, but the outer movements were certainly very assertive, even aggressive rhythmically. I generally haven't enjoyed many of the Emersons' recordings, I find them too harsh and strident. I really wasn't liking too much of what I was hearing, so I think I'll switch to the Alban Berg tomorrow.
    I think the ABQ will open up the door for you in this quartet. When I listened yesterday my impression was that it's really quite accessible music. One thing I'll say is that the Intermezzo movement is kind of challenging. It's very slow and long, and I don't quite understand what Brahms was trying to get off on me with it. Other than that I was impressed with it all. The finale is short and sweet, hard-hitting. You know, I wanted to check out that Emerson recording but you may just have talked me out of it.

  4. #64
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    When I listen to the first three movements, the pleasure comes from having my expectations confirmed right on cue. I mean harmonic and rhythmic and melodic expectations. This is agreeable music, in the sense of not presenting challenges and being comfortable.


    Then there’s the fourth movement. But that’s quite another story.

    (Interesting to think about final movements in music of this period . . . the Chopin sonatas . . .)
    Last edited by Mandryka; Mar-09-2020 at 11:17.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Some patchy thoughts upon listening to the ABQ:

    This is music that, in typical Brahmsian fashion, is very tough to describe with one word. Austere, searching, passionate, sentimental, enigmatic...what exactly is this music? The first movement is cast in quite a compact sonata form, and it seems like Brahms is making sure that no note is unnecessary. He writes very rich textures and interplays between the instruments but still devises fairly accessible themes. For me it seems like the first movement is bristling with energy that wants to explode into a climax but never really does in the short development. The Romanze is good old-fashioned lyrical, genial Brahms; albeit in a somewhat hesitant and restrained way. Again, it feels as if there is something unspoken here that needs to be released but isn't. The intermezzo movement is somewhat of a curiosity, it seems to go on for a while without much in particular to say, though I enjoyed the beautiful, lilting central waltz. The finale is where that savage energy beneath the surface seems to finally be released in all its glory - it's a short but wild ride that cements the inexorable tragedy of the work. Granted, it's not such a dark and diabolical tragedy as we would later see in the 4th Symphony, but there are definitely signs. I would not call this one of Brahms's greatest works, nor one of my favorites, but the consistently high standards of craftsmanship that he held himself to are clearly visible throughout; and I think that my future listens this week will reveal even more wonderful details. I don't think this quartet deserves the reputation it seems to have. And I much prefer the ABQ to the Emersons. Maybe the impression I got of the unreleased energy stems solely from this performance, but I thought they handled the contrasts and phrasings well. Perhaps I will try the Italiano (maybe my favorite quartet) tomorrow.

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    Well I listened to it again and decided that it’s not the sort of music that interests me at all, though it’s certainly not offensive. Connotations of hotel lobbies, Palm Court Orchestra. I’ve been listening to The Janacek Quartet play it - I went to see if Hagen and Lindsay did it, because I thought they may do something imaginative, but I couldn’t find a recording.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Mar-10-2020 at 10:47.

  8. #67
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Well I listened to it again and decided that it’s not the sort of music that interests me at all, though it’s certainly not offensive. Connotations of hotel lobbies, Palm Court Orchestra. I’ve been listening to The Janacek Quartet play it - I went to see if Hagen and Lindsay did it, because I thought they may do something imaginative, but I couldn’t find a recording.
    Oh come on now. It may not be as adventurous as some of the more modern music you're spending more of your time listening to, but surely it's something beyond the "light classical" repertoire...? Be honest.

    I did not listen yesterday, but I will try and listen after work today.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Well I listened to it again and decided that it’s not the sort of music that interests me at all, though it’s certainly not offensive. Connotations of hotel lobbies, Palm Court Orchestra. I’ve been listening to The Janacek Quartet play it - I went to see if Hagen and Lindsay did it, because I thought they may do something imaginative, but I couldn’t find a recording.
    Mandryka; honest, curious question: do you like any Romantic music?

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    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    I've listened a few times now. I own two versions, Amadeus Quartet and Takács Quartet. Both are enjoyable, though the Amadeus recording sounds a bit thin.
    The opening movement was a little impenetrable to me initially, but after repeated listens, is starting to reveal itself. Very dense and somewhat agitated in style. The inner movements are lovely. I especially like the sighing motif that is repeated throughout the final three movements, in variations. It sounds very familiar. Perhaps from another Brahms work Or maybe Schumann?

  12. #70
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    I went with the Amadeus today. It is a fine work but perhaps lacks that last degree of distinctiveness that the best Brahms has? I have a few recordings of it so let's see what I'm saying and thinking by the end.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Mandryka; honest, curious question: do you like any Romantic music?
    I like this

    Last edited by Mandryka; Mar-10-2020 at 18:27.

  14. #72
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    This morning I heard the Quartetto Italiano (possibly my favorite quartet) play it. They were definitely the most cautious, restrained recording of the three I've heard so far. Generally slower tempi, clear balances, warm tones: all reasons why I've really enjoyed their Beethoven, Mozart, Ravel, Debussy recordings. Yet it seemed a tad underpowered in this music. Three listens now and I'm not really feeling the typical Brahmsian ecstasy that I typically do with his chamber works. Things just seem a bit too reined-in, and it seems like he isn't really pouring out his entire soul into the work. The third movement, in particular, I actually find quite annoying as it progresses. Anyway; there is lots of fantastic, intricate quartet writing here. The finale is the one movement I have yet to understand; sort of a breathless whirlwind without much real development. I liked Mandryka's comparison with the finales of Chopin's 2nd and 3rd Sonatas - brief movements that seem to serve more as a diabolical, bravura finish rather than a meticulously-crafted summary of the entire work (interesting that Brahms would take this direction after he wrote one of the greatest finales to date in his 1st Symphony). I will try and listen at least once more this week and see if I can glean that one extra level of enjoyment so I can truly appreciate this work.

    Time to nominate who will choose next week's quartet. Having chosen this week, I nominate Enthusiast to pick our Weekly Quartet for 03/15-03/22.
    Last edited by Allegro Con Brio; Mar-11-2020 at 22:22.

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  16. #73
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    Casals_.jpg

    This one is the one to try, much more emphasis on counterpoint than melody. That makes it a bit more interesting.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Mar-11-2020 at 20:22.

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  18. #74
    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    I'm really surprised that people aren't liking this one. Going to listen again later and see if my opinion has changed for the worse.

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    I listened to the Amadeus Quartet on Tuesday and the Alban Berg Quartet yesterday. Both were good and there was much to enjoy. Today I went for the Borodin Quartet's recording. This is the one I have had the longest and it still seems to be the one I enjoy the most. Or perhaps it is just my mood today. Anyway, it seems more alive and to have a greater sense of discovery to it. And, of course, it has real warmth.

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