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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Yes, another superb choice. I was actually expecting something more “spiky” and harmonically adventurous from Nielsen based off what I was familiar with from him, so it was somewhat surprising to hear a very traditional sounding piece. Don’t get me wrong, I love Nielsen in all his various moods but I don’t think I’ve heard anything so “traditional” from him. But I totally agree with Iota above that it still has a youthful, adventurous character and a unique language. The contrapuntal writing in particular was very impressive. I thought the Kontra Quartet played very well, but I’m going to have to agree with Merl that the sound quality was very harsh and bright; I had to constantly keep adjusting the volume which was a nuisance.

    Just a thought I had while listening to this - in this group so far, we have listened to quartets from a huge range of styles, eras, and composer nationalities. We’ve had everything from 18th to 21st century, and we’ve heard music from German, Polish, Czech, Russian, French, Danish, Norwegian, American, Hispanic, and Argentinian composers; all with unique and interesting things to say. We’re so fortunate to have such a diverse range of music within the umbrella of the classical tradition, and this group has really helped me to gain a deeper appreciation of that!

    FYI, since we’re going back to the top of the order, I guess I’ll be picking the quartet for next week, so no need for anyone to worry about turning in a nomination
    Last edited by Allegro Con Brio; Aug-04-2020 at 16:33.
    "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 annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Yes, another superb choice. I was actually expecting something more “spiky” and harmonically adventurous from Nielsen based off what I was familiar with from him, so it was somewhat surprising to hear a very traditional sounding piece. Don’t get me wrong, I love Nielsen in all his various moods but I don’t think I’ve heard anything so “traditional” from him. But I totally agree with Iota above that it still has a youthful, adventurous character and a unique language. The contrapuntal writing in particular was very impressive. I thought the Kontra Quartet played very well, but I’m going to have to agree with Merl that the sound quality was very harsh and bright; I had to constantly keep adjusting the volume which was a nuisance.
    Yes, I think Nielsen's style varies a lot across different periods but also it's a bit dependent on the type of composition. Some of his orchestral pieces, like Saga Drom, Helios Overture, and Symphony Rhapsody, have quite traditional late-Romantic sound. It's been some time since I listened to his full symphony cycle but that's where Nielsen the Modernist is very apparent as far as I remember. The effect of WW1 has been proposed as one of the ways to explain the more modernist sound of his post-war symphonies. But I think even many of his earlier compositions were quite unpredictable and certainly energetic - seemed to be part of his style (which I'm very fond of ).
    Last edited by annaw; Aug-04-2020 at 20:05.

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    I'm a bit behind, sorry (so this will be two posts rolled into one). For Szymanowski's 1st String Quartet, I listened to two contrasting performances, which turned out to be a good way to tackle this quartet in order to gain a deeper understanding of the music. First, I listened to the Schoenberg Quartet. What I liked most about their performance is that they focus on the forward looking modern elements in the score. At the same time, they tend to largely--though not entirely--avoid the romanticism in the work. So the quartet comes off as something closer to a mid-20th century quartet, if you will, rather than a transitional early modern work with strong romantic elements. I've encountered this approach before with other ensembles who, like the Schoenberg Quartet, play a lot of modern music. They tend to focus primarily on the music's modern aspects, and for the most part avoid the romanticism in the score, almost as if it's not there. Of course, when the romanticism is there it can be a disservice to the composer.

    To give a parallel example, for instance, some conductors see the symphonies of Allan Pettersson as purely modern works, & predominantly interpret the music in that vein, avoiding the romantic elements. For me, their interpretations don't work nearly as well as Pettersson's conductor of choice, Sergui Comissiona, who understood that a thread of romanticism exists within Pettersson's symphonies and he brought it out in full force (for example in the 7th symphony). Granted, Pettersson's symphonies still sound quite modern in Comissiona's hands, but the conductor's more romantically attuned approach tends to make the intensely emotional side of Pettersson's music sound more human, and I believe that Pettersson thought so too--judging by his letters to Comissiona--where he wrote that Comissiona's conducting represented his intentions perfectly.

    To my mind, a similar thing is going on here with the Schoenberg Quartet, who likewise have chosen to play Szymanowski's 1917 quartet as if it were a later modern work, say maybe from the 1920s, 30s, or even 40s. The difference is that I don't have the same issue with their interpretation as I do with some of the more modern Pettersson conductors. Nevertheless, I have to admit that they make Szymanowski sound like less of a transitional composer than he probably was.

    Yet, all of my doubts are erased when I listen to the Schoenberg Quartet's 2nd movement, which they play and interpret brilliantly (& especially the second part of it). Here they find an undeniable modern language in the score, and their interpretation is fascinating. Despite that (I gather) Schoenberg & Berg's modernism came before Szymanowski's, Szymanowski is still remarkably ahead of his time with this quartet--at least when I listen to the Schoenberg Quartet's interpretation. Certainly no French composer (that I know) was sounding this modern in 1917--not Charles Koechlin, or Albert Roussel, or even (the more modern) Darius Milhaud.

    However, I don't think the Schoenberg Quartet pulls off the 3rd movement as successfully. I found myself somewhat indifferent to their 3rd movement. Perhaps the music is less inspired after such a richly imaginative 2nd movement (after all this is Szymanowski's first attempt at a string quartet). But I found the Schoenberg Quartet's interpretation of the 3rd movement to be confused, stylistically, and less convincing than the other two movements. The movement almost seemed out of place. It made me wonder if the Schoenberg Quartet's less romanticized approach had worked against Szymanowski's intentions for this movement?

    Then, I listened to a live concert performance by a Polish group, the Szymanowski Quartet, who are new to me & an impressive quartet. Their interpretation is quite different from the Schoenberg's and at times it can almost sound like different music. Right from the start, the Szymanowski Quartet bring out the romantic elements in the music more fully, and they totally convinced me that these elements are an integral part of the score. The result being that the three movements come off as more unified and organically conceived. I came away thinking that there was a thread of romanticism--however subtle it may be--that links the whole quartet together, as one unified conception. Not surprisingly, the 3rd movement made more sense to me in the Szymanowski's interpretation in regards to its juxtaposition to the other two movements. It didn't seem as tacked on or less inspired. While, in contrast, I don't think all three movements work as well together in the Schoenberg's more uniformly modern interpretation.

    Yet, I wouldn't want to be without the Schoenberg Quartet's fascinating 2nd movement, nor their 1st movement, either. Though ultimately I consider the Szymanowski's interpretation to be the more idiomatic performance. Granted, they aren't quite as sharply focused on the forward looking elements in the music as the Schoenberg Quartet is, but they don't miss them either. And, stylistically, they place the quartet probably where it belongs--in 1917, in Poland.

    But I'm glad to have heard both performances. It was fascinating to hear how the same music can be interpreted so differently.

    Unfortunately, the Szymanowski Quartet doesn't have a recording out of this quartet, but I hope they will soon (& expect they will--considering the name of the group, and the high quality of their playing). IMO, they should avoid the studio and simply release this live taped performance (on You Tube), it's that good (& I'd buy it). Here's a link, if anyone's interested:



    For the sake of comparison, here's a link to the Schoenberg Quartet's recording, again: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z155...ybfwBD82p7Q-cM.

    Thanks for the introduction to this fascinating work! I going to add it to my CD collection.

    Prior to listening to the Szymanowski, I also listened to the Grieg Quartet. Sorry to go against the crowd here, but I wasn’t as crazy about this work as others are. I found its raw expression of emotion and passion to be overwrought. For me, it wasn't satisfying how the quartet continually alternates--within each movement--between music that is dance-like and rhythmically alive and rather wild and intensely maniac, on the one hand, and music that is, in contrast, more gentle and folk-like in melody. I found it frustrating that the folk-like passages only served as brief respites from the constanly returning onslaught of intense emotions within each movement. It was a bit unrelenting, as if Grieg didn’t know how to develop the quieter moods and passages any further into a complete movement. Even in his Romance & Intermezzo, Grieg kept returning to the overwrought emotions, which created a kind of see-saw effect and too wide a dynamic range--at least for me, as I found it unsettling (except for perhaps in the first movement, which I thought was the best music of the quartet). To my ears, it didn't sound like Grieg was especially comfortable or confident working within the string quartet idiom.

    So, I guess I wasn't altogether crazy about the antithetical nature of this quartet, at least not within each & every movement. It was as if Grieg was constantly pitting two unrelated, incompatible scenes against each other for the duration the four movements. I suspect that he found the expansive structure of a four movement string quartet to be challenging, in the same way that writing symphonies proved to be too difficult for him (considering that Grieg suppressed his only symphony). My impression has been that he was a lot more at home composing miniatures for the solo piano (such as his beautiful Lyric Pieces, which I adore) and his shorter orchestral tone poems (such as his Two Elegiac Melodies, Op. 33--"Love's Wound" & "The Last Spring", and the Holberg Suite), and music that is more inherently episodic (such as his incidental music to Ibsen's play, Peer Gynt). The Piano Concerto may be the one exception, in terms of its size & scale.

    On a side note, I was surprised to read that the English musicologist Gerald Abraham thought Debussy's String Quartet was modeled on Grieg's Quartet. I didn’t hear that at all. I’ve never even thought of Grieg as a composer whose music Debussy would have been keenly interested in. Nor did this quartet remind of Debussy's quartet as I listened to it, except that they're in the same key, & that’s about it. Although I admit that I haven't read Abraham's comparison of the two works. (But I will say that, for me, a closer connection exists between Debussy and Szymanowski’s quartet, at least on first impression.)

    I first listened to a recording of the Grieg Quartet that the Copenhagen Quartet made in the 1960s. It’s a good performance. Then I listened to the Orlando Quartet in a filmed recording, & I liked that performance better. It was made after the Orlando's 1st violinist Istvan Parkanyi had left the group and been replaced by a young Arvid Engegård. As much as I admire Parkanyi’s violin playing (& I’m a big fan), the later Orlandos were no less of a group when they changed first violinists. Their Haydn Op. 64 (nos. 4, 5, & 6) disc from that period, for example, with Engegård, is one of my favorite Haydn SQ recordings ever: https://www.amazon.com/Haydn-String-.../dp/B088MJD1JQ. Engegård brought a special energy & virtuosity to the group. You can hear that in their playing of the Grieg Quartet, too. Here's a link to the Orlando's Grieg performance, if anyone’s interested:

    1st movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qlS0...&start_radio=1
    2nd movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3A1YjdXDnfQ
    3rd movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Xb0ChPglb0
    4th movement: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9aX54Y4cNvo

    So, I don’t expect that I’ll be adding the Grieg quartet to my collection. But I am grateful for having heard it. Coincidentally, over the past month or so, I had been revisiting some of Grieg’s music for the first time in many years, & I was hoping to get to some of the chamber music, especially those works that I’d never heard before, such as this string quartet. So your selection was quite timely. Now I’ll have to dig out Grieg's 3 Violin Sonatas, which I have heard before, but it's been so many years that I don’t remember them. (Evidently, Franz Liszt admired Grieg's first Violin Sonata...)

    I'm looking forward to hearing Carl Nielsen's quartet. He's another composer that I've been revisiting over the past year (having struggled somewhat with his music in previous years), and I've never heard any of his string quartets... (Of Nielson's chamber music, I've only ever heard his Wind Quintet, Op. 43, which I'd recommend if you don't know it: although it is sort of an odd but fun work: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ow0sYQH-8HQ.)
    Last edited by Josquin13; Aug-05-2020 at 21:27.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Listening to the other Nielsen quartets they're all quite different. There's dissonance which I expected to hear in Nielsen's music but they're all set in a romantic vein. SQ2 (F minor) could even pass as a Brahms SQ (OK by me) and is a really enjoyable piece too. Inner movements generally consist of a gloomy beauty and introspection surrounded by outer movements of music employing plenty of double stops, syncopation, (my beloved) pizzicato, tension, agitation and the occasional 'jolly tune'.
    I think it's important to remember that these works were written by a still very young Nielsen who was still learning his art and there's some understandable nods to Brahms and Beethoven (nothing wrong there for me, either). For example, in the opening measures of the first movement of this week's choice, the Op. 14, I hear Beethoven’s Late Quartets. Its full of contrapuntal effects and is bold and assertive. The 2nd movement rises and soars beautifully yet has a sombre quality I really like. The third movement has a frisky theme given out by the first violin before it dissolves into that lively, stormy presto and then returns to the main theme. It seems to whizz by. The main theme of the finale allegro was the one I was unsure of at first but I've actually come to love it the most. It almost sounds like the intro to a TV series about the Wild West before it then transposes into that interesting but short pizzicato section and then recapitulates into the main theme.
    As I said earlier, I've really enjoyed getting to know this SQ. It wasn't what I was expecting from Nielsen but it's right up my street, musically. Yet again this thread has ended up costing me more money in obtaining music I was unfamiliar with. Its even costing me money buying different accounts of music I am familiar with (eg Ravel). Damn you, TC 'stringsters'.
    Last edited by Merl; Aug-06-2020 at 10:57.

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    Senior Member Malx's Avatar
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    This week I have little chance to listen to music having a bout of shingles which is affecting my head, neck and shoulder has made listening a chore.
    I did listen to the only recording I have of the Nielsen quartet by the Danish String Quartet (not young at that time), I really couldn't work up the energy or enthusiasm to try others.
    Sorry for for depressing post.

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    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    Very sorry to hear that, Malx. Shingles is said to be an awful experience. I wish you a speedy recovery.

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    Nielsen's 3rd quartet was a relatively early work, composed in 1897, a few years after the 1st and a few years before the 2nd symphonies. It is also, I think, a little more modern than it seems at first - in several places we find ourselves listening to music that is far from its apparent conservatism. All in all, it seems to be very much a work of its time and of its period in Nielsen's output. A fine work, full of good ideas, distinctively bright and instantly (I suspect) likable. Its existence hints to me that there is much for me to still discover in Nielsen's earlier music.

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    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Though I can’t say I find the Nielsen quartet to be particularly memorable - I’m not willing to call it one of his masterpieces - I can’t find anything at fault with it; it’s a lovely piece and like the Grieg quartet, it has tangible folk roots but Nielsen’s music is more “nuanced” sounding to me than the pure tunesmithery of Grieg. That is one of the things I love most about Nielsen - he never tries to do anything too grandiose, he’s just integrating folksy vibes with a late Romantic/early modernist musical language. Even in the more epic works like the 5th symphony (which is one of my favorite 20thc symphonies) it’s not bombast or pretentiousness at all. I think I will listen to his colorful Wind Quintet this afternoon, which I haven’t heard in a while. For this quartet I couldn’t detect too much difference in performing style between the Kontra and the (Young) Danish, but like Merl I have to give the edge to the Danish due to the Kontra’s harsh recorded sound. I also listened to some of the old Erling Bloch, and enjoyed it very much. Good sound quality for the era and another one of those spontaneous, expressive, old-style performances that we don’t see replicated very often it at all.

    I will announce next week’s quartet some time tomorrow! I’m really struggling on whether to pick a work that I know well and that is dear to my heart, or something that I would like to explore further and which may be more challenging to me. Probably leaning toward the latter, but I have to do some more sampling of various candidates...

    And, now that we’ve completed the first “cycle” of nominations, for reference, here is the master list of quartets listened to so far:

    02/23-03/01: Beethoven - String Quartet No. 14 (Vicente)
    03/01-03/08: Britten - String Quartet No. 3 (flamencosketches)
    03/08-03/15: Brahms - String Quartet No. 1 (Allegro Con Brio)
    03/15-03/22: Schubert - String Quartet No. 15 (Enthusiast)
    03/22-03/29: Haydn - String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 20/3 (Mandryka)
    03/29-04/05: Smetana - String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life" (flamencosketches)
    04/05-04/12: Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 4 (Josquin13)
    04/12-04/19: Carter - String Quartet No. 3 (Bwv 1050)
    04/19-04/26: Schnittke - String Quartet No. 2 (Portamento)
    04/26-05/03: Lutosławski - String Quartet (Shosty)
    05/03-05/10: Schumann - String Quartet No. 1 (sbmonty)
    05/10-05/17: Korngold - String Quartet No. 2 (Merl)

    05/17-05/24: Ravel - String Quartet (Eramire156)
    05/24-05/31: Crawford Seeger - String Quartet (Knorf)
    05/31-06/07: Hindemith - String Quartet No. 4 (Simplicissimus)
    06/07-06/14: Kurtág - 6 Moments Musicaux for String Quartet (TurnaboutVox)
    06/14-06/21: Lachenmann - Gran Torso (calvinpv)
    06/21-06/28: Frank - Quijotidas (20centrfuge)
    06/28-07/05: Ginastera - String Quartet No. 2 (Iota)
    07/05-07/12: Mendelssohn - String Quartet No. 6 (DTut)
    07/12-07/19: Gerhard - String Quartet No. 2 (Malx)
    07/19-07/26: Grieg - String Quartet No. 1 (BlackAdderLXX)
    07/26-08/02: Szymanowski - String Quartet No. 1 (starthrower)
    08/02-08/09: Nielsen - String Quartet No. 3 (annaw)
    "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 Knorf's Avatar
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    (Side note: that is one awesome list of String Quartets!)

    Sorry I haven't been commenting much recently. I was out of town for the two previous weeks, and my listening was pretty sparse.

    Nielsen's Third Quartet I've known for awhile, but it never grabbed me. I came to know Nielsen in my teenage years, when I fell in love with his symphonies—especially The Inextinguishable—and being a bassoonist I've performed his marvelous Wind Quintet, Op. 43—a true masterpiece—many, many times, and it is very dear to me.

    But I will say these descriptions and enthusiastic comments that you all wrote in this thread have helped persuade me, and I listened to Op. 14 again straight through twice yesterday, and will again today. It's definitely grown on me, and I'm starting to definitively like it; before, I was merely indifferent. It will never measure up to the Wind Quintet, much less the symphonies, but I realize that I really should not expect it to.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Though I can’t say I find the Nielsen quartet to be particularly memorable - I’m not willing to call it one of his masterpieces - I can’t find anything at fault with it; it’s a lovely piece and like the Grieg quartet, it has tangible folk roots but Nielsen’s music is more “nuanced” sounding to me than the pure tunesmithery of Grieg. That is one of the things I love most about Nielsen - he never tries to do anything too grandiose, he’s just integrating folksy vibes with a late Romantic/early modernist musical language. Even in the more epic works like the 5th symphony (which is one of my favorite 20thc symphonies) it’s not bombast or pretentiousness at all. I think I will listen to his colorful Wind Quintet this afternoon, which I haven’t heard in a while. For this quartet I couldn’t detect too much difference in performing style between the Kontra and the (Young) Danish, but like Merl I have to give the edge to the Danish due to the Kontra’s harsh recorded sound. I also listened to some of the old Erling Bloch, and enjoyed it very much. Good sound quality for the era and another one of those spontaneous, expressive, old-style performances that we don’t see replicated very often it at all.

    I will announce next week’s quartet some time tomorrow! I’m really struggling on whether to pick a work that I know well and that is dear to my heart, or something that I would like to explore further and which may be more challenging to me. Probably leaning toward the latter, but I have to do some more sampling of various candidates...

    And, now that we’ve completed the first “cycle” of nominations, for reference, here is the master list of quartets listened to so far:

    02/23-03/01: Beethoven - String Quartet No. 14 (Vicente)
    03/01-03/08: Britten - String Quartet No. 3 (flamencosketches)
    03/08-03/15: Brahms - String Quartet No. 1 (Allegro Con Brio)
    03/15-03/22: Schubert - String Quartet No. 15 (Enthusiast)
    03/22-03/29: Haydn - String Quartet in G Minor, Op. 20/3 (Mandryka)
    03/29-04/05: Smetana - String Quartet No. 1 "From My Life" (flamencosketches)
    04/05-04/12: Shostakovich - String Quartet No. 4 (Josquin13)
    04/12-04/19: Carter - String Quartet No. 3 (Bwv 1050)
    04/19-04/26: Schnittke - String Quartet No. 2 (Portamento)
    04/26-05/03: Lutosławski - String Quartet (Shosty)
    05/03-05/10: Schumann - String Quartet No. 1 (sbmonty)
    05/10-05/17: Korngold - String Quartet No. 2 (Merl)

    05/17-05/24: Ravel - String Quartet (Eramire156)
    05/24-05/31: Crawford Seeger - String Quartet (Knorf)
    05/31-06/07: Hindemith - String Quartet No. 4 (Simplicissimus)
    06/07-06/14: Kurtág - 6 Moments Musicaux for String Quartet (TurnaboutVox)
    06/14-06/21: Lachenmann - Gran Torso (calvinpv)
    06/21-06/28: Frank - Quijotidas (20centrfuge)
    06/28-07/05: Ginastera - String Quartet No. 2 (Iota)
    07/05-07/12: Mendelssohn - String Quartet No. 6 (DTut)
    07/12-07/19: Gerhard - String Quartet No. 2 (Malx)
    07/19-07/26: Grieg - String Quartet No. 1 (BlackAdderLXX)
    07/26-08/02: Szymanowski - String Quartet No. 1 (starthrower)
    08/02-08/09: Nielsen - String Quartet No. 3 (annaw)
    Yep, that really is a diverse collection of SQs but that's really good. I've not enjoyed every one of these but I don't expect to but at least I'm getting to experience a wide variety of works from the distant past and from more recently. I'm really enjoying this thread and the discoveries I've made due to my fellow stringsters on here.

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    Senior Member starthrower's Avatar
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    Still so many more we can explore from famous cycles no one has yet chosen. Not to mention many others.
    "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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    Alright, guys and gals. As I thought long and hard about my nomination this week, I knew that I wanted to pick something that would further our appreciation of the incredibly diverse array of potentials within the humble string quartet genre. Even if I haven't necessarily enjoyed every single quartet we've done, each one has given me a great admiration for the genius of intrepid composers, from the sturm und drang of Haydn to the folk influences of Grieg and Nielsen to the personal anguish of Shostakovich to the wild soundscapes of Lachenmann and Carter. I then thought about the most famous string quartet cycles that we have not touched yet. Keeping that in mind and knowing that I wanted something "unique" enough to stimulate discussion but not too crazy "out there” to alienate listeners, I narrowed it down to two choices - Bartók and Janácek. After auditioning possible candidates for each, I have decided that this week's honors will go to...

    BARTÓK!!!!

    His String Quartet No. 4, to be exact. Now, I am a huge fan of Bartók as he was the first modernist composer that I fell in love with. His "thornier" quartets took a while to click with me, but once they did I found them very addicting. Yes, the musical language is quite spiky and dissonant, but I found his blend of folk influences, driving energy, caressing lyricism, and creative extended techniques to be irresistable. There are times where it sounds more dreamy and “impressionist” like Ravel and times where it is astringent but still very lovable IMO. I don't think it's "academic" or "inaccessible" at all - it's just great, great music that provides endless fascination. I chose the 4th because I think it encapsulates everything awesome about one of my favorite 20th century composers into one. I'll just let Wikipedia explain it in their excellent article!

    Besides what Wiki says, I don't want to provide too much of my own perceptions since I think everyone should discover their own personal rewards from the music. But I will say that I find the structure of the first movement - starting off with fistfuls of tone clusters and searing dissonances - then gradually winding down into more consonant harmonies and a peaceful finish - quite brilliant. The central movement is a perfect example of haunting night music, and the finale is true head-banging material; what you'd want to play first to a metalhead that you want to convert to classical. Oh, and let’s not forget about the short but sweet fourth movement which is entirely in pizzicato!

    As far as recordings, one reason I chose this quartet is because I want to take a deeper dive into performances of Bartók's quartets and so far I am really only familiar with the Hungarian on DG and the Alban Berg. I've enjoyed both but I still feel like I'm looking for the recording for me. I've heard great (and not so great) things about the Tatrai, Emerson, Tokyo, Takács, and Hagen so I'd like to sample all of those at some point this week, plus any other recommendations anyone may throw out there.

    So there you have it! Have fun and happy listening
    "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 Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Oh, and here’s the tentative order of nominators for the second “cycle” as we stick with the original order:

    Enthusiast
    Mandryka
    Josquin13
    Bwv 1050
    Portamento
    Shosty
    sbmonty
    Merl
    Eramire156
    Knorf
    Simplicissimus
    TurnaboutVox
    calvinpv
    20centrfuge
    Iota
    Malx
    BlackAdderLXX
    starthrower
    annaw

    On standby (will be added back to the rotation once they make an appearance in the thread)
    Vicente
    Euler
    MissKittysMom
    "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 Merl's Avatar
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    Great choice of SQ, ACB. My fave Bartok quartet and the key to a great recording is a top performance of the 4th movement (pizzicato heaven). I have quite a few I love so I'll probably start with those.
    . Jeez I've found 45 recordings of this SQ up to now! I may have to be very selective. Luckily I know a few of these recordings well. This is a fave of yours too, isn't it Starthrower?
    Last edited by Merl; Aug-09-2020 at 12:03.

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    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Bartók’s SQ 4 is going to bring me back to music I used to listen to all the time but which I’ve taken for granted and neglected over the past few years. I remember how I got into Bartók’s string quartets. Shortly after I moved to Washington, DC in the summer of 1989, one of my new colleagues mentioned the Smithsonian Institution’s chamber music series at the Baird Auditorium of the National Museum of Natural History. I bought a subscription and it turned out that the Emerson Quartet were in residence and were featuring the six SQs. I was thoroughly enchanted by these works and soon bought the Emersons’ recording (1988, DGG). That was when my CD collection numbered in the tens! For several years I spun these CDs frequently.

    I’ve really never sampled recordings other than the Emersons’ and I’m looking forward very much to doing so this week, within the limitations of my streaming service. I’ll start with the Alexander Quartet, which has been mentioned on the Bartók SQ thread. I’m intrigued by the idea of harsh versus smooth or lyrical Bartók. It might turn out that the Emersons are harsh as ACB has noted they tend to be.
    Last edited by Simplicissimus; Aug-09-2020 at 14:20.

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