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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #751
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    It's not for me. I listened but i I found it to be a hodge-podge of disparate ideas . Aw well.

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    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    New to me as well. I'll give this one a try. Thanks!

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    Senior Member Iota's Avatar
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    Great stuff, Turnaboutvox!

    I was engaged by my first listening (Athena Quartet), but the last two movements really caught my ear. The lovely harmonics of no.5 that seem to wander to a captivating region of the consciousness, and the hints of a distant Last Post over a fading heartbeat at the end of No.6, I found rather affecting.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    It's not for me. I listened but i I found it to be a hodge-podge of disparate ideas . Aw well.
    Like Schubert's Moments Musicaux?

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    Retired TurnaboutVox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    It's not for me. I listened but i I found it to be a hodge-podge of disparate ideas . Aw well.
    Merl, my intention is not to proselytise but a decade ago I'd have been with you in saying "this is not for me" or even "I am not sure this is even music, as opposed to organised noise". What changed things for me, once I had decided that it might be worthwhile trying to learn to listen to and appreciate such music, was listening to and watching a string quartet playing works live at a recital. I found it helped to both "see what was going on" as well as to hear it.

    There is at least one decent recording of this work on a YouTube video (Dilijan Chamber Music Series) which might be helpful.

    When a decent video is not available, I have found an alternative and opposite approach is to close my eyes and try to let the music simply unfold without having any concrete expectations of it - concentrate on rhythm , timbre and texture rather than melody and harmony because you're unlikely to hear anything you will recognise as conventional melody, at least at first.

    It's also been my experience that once I know the work sufficiently well to remember chunks of it when I'm not actually listening to it, or even to find myself humming or whistling parts of it, it all kind of clicks into place (this first happened for me with Webern's Op. 5, 9 and 28 works for string quartet).

    I think that Kurtag's idea was to present, like Schubert before him, a series of brief movements which "set each other into relief". So you are not wide of the mark in experiencing a "hodge-podge of disparate ideas"!

    The title brings to mind the many eponymous piano works by Schubert, who used the label to denote a group of relatively short character pieces for piano, that could be performed together and set each other into relief, but were not part of one structure as are the movements of a sonata, for example.

    Misha Amory
    I apologise in advance if this work is irrevocably "not for you" and my suggestions are unwelcome!
    Last edited by TurnaboutVox; Jun-07-2020 at 19:20.

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    Senior Member 20centrfuge's Avatar
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    I found some extended program notes here: https://www.brentanoquartet.com/note...ents-musicaux/

    In particular, at the moment, I’m finding that the notes for section 2 really enhance the listening experience.

    2. Footfalls. Samuel Beckett, a lifelong influence on Kurtág, wrote a play by the same name, which features a pacing female character whose footsteps were meant to be metronomic, audible, and central to the meaning of the play. Independently of this, Kurtág cites a poem by the celebrated Hungarian poet Endre Ady, with its own very different message:

    No One Comes
    Kipp-kopp, as if a woman were coming
    On a dark stairway, trembling, running
    My heart stops, I await something wonderful In the autumn dusk, confident.
    Kipp-kopp, my heart starts up once again
    I hear it once again, to my deep and great pleasure In a soft tempo, in a secret rhythm
    As if someone were coming, were coming
    Kipp-kopp, now a funeral twilight
    A misty, hollow melody sounds
    The autumn evening. Today no one come to me Today no one will come to me, no one.
    Last edited by 20centrfuge; Jun-07-2020 at 20:28.

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  10. #757
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TurnaboutVox View Post
    Merl, my intention is not to proselytise but a decade ago I'd have been with you in saying "this is not for me" or even "I am not sure this is even music, as opposed to organised noise". What changed things for me, once I had decided that it might be worthwhile trying to learn to listen to and appreciate such music, was listening to and watching a string quartet playing works live at a recital. I found it helped to both "see what was going on" as well as to hear it.

    There is at least one decent recording of this work on a YouTube video (Dilijan Chamber Music Series) which might be helpful.

    When a decent video is not available, I have found an alternative and opposite approach is to close my eyes and try to let the music simply unfold without having any concrete expectations of it - concentrate on rhythm , timbre and texture rather than melody and harmony because you're unlikely to hear anything you will recognise as conventional melody, at least at first.

    It's also been my experience that once I know the work sufficiently well to remember chunks of it when I'm not actually listening to it, or even to find myself humming or whistling parts of it, it all kind of clicks into place (this first happened for me with Webern's Op. 5, 9 and 28 works for string quartet).

    I think that Kurtag's idea was to present, like Schubert before him, a series of brief movements which "set each other into relief". So you are not wide of the mark in experiencing a "hodge-podge of disparate ideas"!



    I apologise in advance if this work is irrevocably "not for you" and my suggestions are unwelcome!
    Not at all. Thank you for taking the time to write this. I much appreciate your explanations and honesty. I may well feel different in time, who knows? At the moment it's perhaps still a bridge too far for me. We all change so I'd never say never.
    Last edited by Merl; Jun-08-2020 at 00:10.

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    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    I like these. I found them on my streaming service performed by Quatuor Molinari and have been listening to them over and over. This music is getting close to sound art, but what holds it within the music orbit for me is the interaction among the quartet parts, which has a resemblance to other string quartets of a more traditional character. This tracks with what TurnaboutVox wrote about viewing the performance (which I plan to do). I’m surprised that I find dissonant music like this charming. The thing is, I feel Kurtág trying to communicate, connect, win me over in a good-natured way; not blast the dissonance in my face with a take-it-or-leave-it attitude. It’s a really interesting experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simplicissimus View Post
    This music is getting close to sound art
    Can you say a bit more about what you’re getting at there?

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    OK, I really fell off with this thread and missed the Hindemith, can't even remember the one before that, and probably missed the one before that too. Sorry, folks, I just haven't been in a string quartets mood much at all. (Oddly enough I have been nuts about piano trios lately). But I want to get back on board with Kurtág. Kurtág is a composer about whom I've long suspected that if I allow myself to really dive into his works, he would quickly become a favorite, but for some reason I never did any of that. Going to check out the Molinari recording pictured above.
    Last edited by flamencosketches; Jun-08-2020 at 11:15.

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    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    So I listened to the Athena Quartet this morning. It was definitely interesting. I'm willing to give anything a listen but I confess that the appeal a lot of your more nontraditional modern stuff is lost on me. This work fell pretty well outside of the type of classical music that I find myself enjoying, but I'd be willing to give it a listen again sometime in the future. Maybe at some point I'll start casually enjoying works like this.
    I'm realizing that my answer to the "favorite recording" question is usually Bruno Walter.

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  17. #762
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    I have been with the Athena Quartet recording. The work is a delight. The characterisation of each short piece is so sharp. Of course, it is a brief work made up of contrasting very short pieces so there is no great profundity but its freshness is more than welcome in a day's listening.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    there is no great profundity
    I’d be interested to know if you feel the same way after you’ve heard the Keller Quartet play them/it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    so
    Non sequitur.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    , it is a brief work.
    Longer than the Josquin Magnificat and Stabat Mater, or Bach’s chaconne or any of his partitas and suites (or not much in it) Or Beethoven’s . . . no, yuk, Beethoven . . . I don’t want to think about him.

    Quote Originally Posted by Enthusiast View Post
    made up of contrasting very short pieces
    Like a partita. Or a song cycle.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jun-08-2020 at 18:44.

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    This one is very much worth hearing I think. Maybe a bit too arrogant sounding and agressive, but that may be just my preferences.

    Last edited by Mandryka; Jun-08-2020 at 18:12.

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    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    Can you say a bit more about what you’re getting at there?
    I’ll draw a little on Wikipedia here to supplement my own understanding of “sound art.” What I mean is an artistic expression using sound which does not use traditional musical concepts of rhythm, tone, and harmony, but rather puts together created or natural sounds in order to induce esthetic qualia in listeners. The term “sound art” has been used in the United States interchangeably, or in close relation, with “sound poetry” and “sound sculpture.” It is also sometimes understood to be a form of “experimental music.”

    These works by Kurtág seem to me to have broken free somewhat from traditional musical forms, although they still use rhythms, tonality, and harmonies that listeners can identify with “music,” and of course the sounds are created on traditional musical instruments and, as I commented above, the interactions among the quartet parts are recognizable as belonging to the SQ form, at least the modern instantiation of the form. I didn’t mean (though I perhaps seemed to mean) that the quartet dynamic is the only aspect of the works that tethers them, for me, to music as (somewhat) distinct from sound art. There are rhythmic, tonal, and harmonic aspects which are musical as well. The timbres of the string instruments are also familiar. That said, I find that as a listener I am willing to let Kurtág take me places with the sounds that are akin to what I experience with poetry or sculpture, which is outside of the natural boundary that I experience listening to more traditional music.

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