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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #1216
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip!

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  3. #1217
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Vasks SQ 4: I listened to the Navarras on YouTube and then actually did find the Spīkerus on Amazon HD. Wow! I see why Josquin13 calls this SQ a modern masterpiece! Love it.

    It’s quite conservative compared to a lot of the contemporary SQs we’ve been enjoying. I do perceive some Pärt, but not Shostakovich so much (as these two composers have been mentioned as influences). Melodically, I hear a sensibility akin to Sibelius, while in terms of chords and chord progressions I hear a lot of Barber. But Vasks has his own characteristics, which come across strongly to me. I track emotions and moods in this music, but more than that I experience something like colors, which reminds me of Bliss’s Color Symphony (evocatively, not musically). I’m looking forward to some more listening through the week, which I expect will give me a better sense of the whole. Right now, I am apprehending the work only on the level of the individual movements.

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  5. #1218
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    Interesting last movement in the Vasks.

    (forget the above - I listened to to the 3rd quartet by mistake!)
    Last edited by Mandryka; Sep-01-2020 at 19:52.

  6. #1219
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    I replayed the Dusapin yesterday - for pleasure rather than "duty" to this thread - and feel it will be a work I continue to revisit. Perhaps thanks to this thread it is now in my "listener's repertoire". And I gave the Vasks some focused attention today via the Kronos Quartet recording. I like the outer movements but find the two toccatas to be rather uninteresting (they sound like second rate middle period Shostakovich to me) and the short chorale that they sandwich also seemed a little dull to me. Structurally, those three middle movements play an important role but I wish Vasks had managed something a bit more interesting for them. So, ultimately a bit disappointing for me and not a work that will join the few other Vasks pieces that I really like.

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  8. #1220
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Listening to the Kronos and Spikeru performances back to back its difficult for me to express a preference up to now. In slower, more tender and soulful moments the Spikeru play beautifully and with wonderful dynamics and a gorgeous tone. In these moments the Spikerus sound fuller yet in the 2nd movement the Kronos quartet have a slightly more aggressive tone and depth of attack that I find just as endearing. I need to listen to these performances a few more times to see which one I prefer but at the moment there's a hair-width between both of these terrific performances. I'm looking forward to trying a few more recordings out.

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  10. #1221
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    Listening to the Kronos and Spikeru performances back to back its difficult for me to express a preference up to now. In slower, more tender and soulful moments the Spikeru play beautifully and with wonderful dynamics and a gorgeous tone. In these moments the Spikerus sound fuller yet in the 2nd movement the Kronos quartet have a slightly more aggressive tone and depth of attack that I find just as endearing. I need to listen to these performances a few more times to see which one I prefer but at the moment there's a hair-width between both of these terrific performances. I'm looking forward to trying a few more recordings out.
    Same “problem” here. I have listened to both but haven’t got a preference yet - both were stunning in my opinion. Should relisten them to get a better idea of the performances but also the quartet itself.
    Last edited by annaw; Sep-02-2020 at 18:50.

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  12. #1222
    Senior Member Iota's Avatar
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    I listened to both the Spikeru and Kronos performances of the Vasks, marginally preferring the former.

    Personally I found most to enjoy in the first and last movements. More than once in these slower reflective movements I felt echoes of Barber's Adagio both in style, and in the sense of seeking consolation through sorrow.
    The only other work I know by Vasks is the viola concerto, which also has undeniably beautiful moments. I haven't yet found myself fully involved with his music, but this is on very limited acquaintance and I will keep an open mind/ear to it.

    I may try the quartet Mandryka listened to by mistake next, who knows where chance may lead ..

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  14. #1223
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Vasks is a composer I am decently familiar with - I love his astonishingly beautiful choral piece Pater Noster, and I have heard his Cor Anglais Concerto and violin concerto “Distant Light.” He does have a unique voice that I often enjoy, but I’m not as big on him when he starts to sound like the “holy minimalists,” which is a style that, for the most part, I don’t connect with. Case in point, I find my attention wavering on the outer movements of this quartet and their static, meditative qualities. That said the music has an intense, radiant focus to it that is undeniably impressive; and Vasks’s structuring of the work is wonderful. The three middle movements are all superb and overall I would rate the work quite highly. I think it’s safe to say that it’s certainly a standout of the quartet repertoire from recent decades.

    Next week’s choice will go to Bwv 1050.

    Realdealblues and HenryPenfold, you have both made contributions to the thread in recent weeks. Would you like to be added to the list of nominators?

    Also, as long as I’m here, I figured I might as well tell you all that life will start to become a lot busier for me in the upcoming weeks, which means that I will not have nearly enough time to devote to the forum as I have to this point. Don’t worry, I’ll still be here plenty enough but my posting will probably be less frequent and though I’ll try to write something weekly on the listening groups (this one plus the Early Music and 1980-2000) I can’t commit to doing so with regularity. Rest assured that I still be listening to all the selections, but I think I’m going to have to reliquish the duty of “running” this thread to someone else. Would someone be willing to maintain the master list of quartets and scheduled nominators as well as provide weekly reminders of who’s up next? This is such a fulfilling and rewarding thread and so much more potential can be eked out of it! Hopefully someone will step up - the duties really aren’t hard at all, but since I have so many things going on in “real life” I’d prefer to get rid of all obligatory “online” duties if I can

    Master list:

    First Round

    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)

    Second Round

    08/09-08/16: Bartók - String Quartet No. 4 (Allegro Con Brio)
    08/16-08/23: Mozart - String Quartet No. 19 “Dissonance” (Enthusiast)
    08/23-08/30: Dusapin - String Quartet No. 7 “OpenTime” (Mandryka)
    08/30-09/06: Vasks - String Quartet No. 4 (Josquin13)
    "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

  15. #1224
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Opportune, as I am trying to catch up with the Vasks and Dusapin.

  16. #1225
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Other than a few of the piano etudes, am not that familiar with Dusapin. This was a cool piece

    Found the Vasks less interesting, but nice to listen to

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  18. #1226
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    OK, seems to be slow, so here is this weeks quartet:

    Max Reger, SQ#4 op 109 in Eb

    Had a good representation of modern along with 19th century works, thought this would be a good addition - dont think we have done a quartet from the first decade of the 20th century. Its a brilliant combination of chromatic harmony and counterpoint, ending with a massive fugue. The recording I know and like best is the Vogler Quartet's, which pairs the work with his great Clarinet Quintet. The piece dates from 1909 and is dedicated to Professor Adolf Wach, the husband of Mendelssohn's youngest daughter Lili. Listening to this one can understand the motivation for Shoenberg and others to move past common practice tonality - hard to imagine more chromatic tonal harmony than this. For example. the opening bar outlines an Eb triad, but surprisingly ends with A half diminished before the phrase ends on a dim 7 chord

    https://imslp.org/wiki/String_Quarte...9_(Reger,_Max)
    Last edited by Bwv 1080; Sep-05-2020 at 21:16.

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  20. #1227
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    I gave the Pēteris Vasks a go. It's much too derivative and therefore boring for my tastes. Shostakovich did the same thing a lot better. (Apologies, Josquin13.)

    I'm much more hopeful about the Reger, which is also new to me!
    Last edited by Knorf; Sep-05-2020 at 19:50.

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  22. #1228
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Great choice! As a matter of fact I’ve just started getting into Reger after a long stretch of unfairly neglecting his music. I’ve listened to Psalm 100, the clarinet quintet, and some of the organ works throughout the last couple of weeks and loved them all. Looking forward to this one.
    "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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  24. #1229
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Here's the recordings of the Reger I could find that are on Spotify or have been released.

    Drolc
    Berner
    Reger Quartet
    Mannheimer
    Joachim
    Berlin Philharmonia Quartet
    Busch
    Vogler
    Melos
    Keller
    Austrian SQ

    I 'discovered' this SQ a few years back and have enjoyed it ever since. Looking forward to trying the different recordings on offer.
    Last edited by Merl; Sep-06-2020 at 18:42.

  25. #1230
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Sorry for the double post but to round off my listening of the Vasks 4th Quartet I listened to two further recordings. The Borussan Quartet on their enjoyable disc 'Company' offered a very good account of the quartet, excellently recorded but although their account was beautiful in slower moments I felt they were a bit laboured at times. Very good but not of the quality of the Spikeru or Kronos recordings. The 2nd recording was by the Prezioso quartet. Lots of attack on that one and it could have been a contender but for one of the most reverberant recordings I've ever heard which I found very off-putting and totally ruined my enjoyment. What a shame.

    So to round up my pick (narrowly) for the Vasks 4th was the excellent Spikeru cycle (which I now have). Superb playing and great sound quality and it marginally edged the Kronos for me.

    71sCsLgYL7L._SL1500_.jpg
    Last edited by Merl; Sep-07-2020 at 06:43.

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