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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #1246
    Senior Member Enthusiast's Avatar
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    I have listened to the Mannheimer recording three times this week. It is a work I knew slightly ... but I always find Reger difficult and find I absolutely have to be in the mood for him. Most of the time I hear smoke but not fire, fog but not much air, damp but not much actual crystal clear water ... and lots of earth. The Op. 109 quartet is one of his better works, I think, but would say that I only really enjoyed it on one of the three times I played it so I don't think this week has solved my problem with Reger. The time I did enjoy it, it sounded so different! But neither familiarity nor will is helping me to always hear it that way! But I do find that the 3rd movement can quite reliably reach for the stars - there is a bit of intensity and life to it - so that is something.
    Last edited by Enthusiast; Sep-12-2020 at 16:39.

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  3. #1247
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Reger SQ in E-flat Major, Op. 109: I ended up finding the Vogler Quartet recording on my service after Merl et al. recommended it. I like it better than the Drolc, the other recording I listened to.

    Overall, I find this work worthwhile and rewarding, but I enjoyed the outer movements much more than the inner. The melodic themes are engaging and nicely stated and re-stated, making the piece feel coherent and, to me, not too long or aimless. I find the harmonies in the first movement especially beautiful, and the fourth movement is spiced up by some well-placed pizzicato. The second and third movements seemed halting, choppy, agitated, and off-balance. I didn’t like the mood; I felt like I was in stop-and go traffic, running late for a meeting, with a hangover. That’s totally subjective, of course, not a criticism of the composition. I’m very pleased to know Reger a little better now, and the Vogler Quartet is a nice find, too.

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  5. #1248
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    Thanks so much, Josquin! If someone doesn’t acknowledge that their turn is up next, I usually shoot them a PM to let them know (sometimes they’re active but just not checking the thread), and if I don’t hear back within the next half-day or so I would go to the next in line.

    Additionally, these members are on “standby” - when they make an appearance in the thread, they can be added to the order:

    Euler
    Vicente
    MissKittysMom
    Allegro,

    Okay, got it. Have you already notified adriesba for next week? or should I do so?

    I'm not sure I understand, did the three names that you mention--Euler, Vicente, & MissKitty'sMom--previously request to be on the list? and were you waiting to see if they became more active on the thread to add them? and then they went away and haven't returned since? or...?

  6. #1249
    Senior Member Iota's Avatar
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    I normally make a point of trying to hear the performance recommended by the OP of that week's quartet, so it's the Vogler Quartet I've listened to, twice now, but sad to say that for whatever reason, I was unable really to connect with it. My experience was similar to Enthusiast's #1246, without though even a positive experience with the third movement.

    It's a curious one, because I find he has a very distinct voice, he doesn't sound quite like anybody else, and that kept me interested for a while, but just didn't lead any further.
    One thing I did like very much was the unexpected jolt of the heavy chords about a minute and a half into the first movement, they reappeared again in what I think was the recapitulation, and again in altered form in the coda, but sadly these were the only high points for me.

    Finally I'll mention that despite my own distance from it, I felt a strong identity to it, which is a possible future bridge over the moat for me. And I was pleased to have focussed on it, I hardly know Reger's music, and will listen elsewhere and maybe find another way in.


    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post
    If someone doesn’t acknowledge that their turn is up next, I usually shoot them ..
    This seems a bit harsh.

    (apologies ..)

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  8. #1250
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josquin13 View Post
    Allegro,

    Okay, got it. Have you already notified adriesba for next week? or should I do so?

    I'm not sure I understand, did the three names that you mention--Euler, Vicente, & MissKitty'sMom--previously request to be on the list? and were you waiting to see if they became more active on the thread to add them? and then they went away and haven't returned since? or...?
    I will message adriesba. Two of those members had requested to be on the list but disappeared shortly after doing so. The other one, Vicente, is the OP of this thread and if he ever shows up again, he deserves a pick
    "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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  10. #1251
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    Oh right, I had forgotten that Vicente originated the thread. (I hope that he wasn't a casualty of COVID-19.) So, I'll start next week, assuming that adriesba makes a pick in the next 24 hours. Thanks.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Sep-12-2020 at 22:07.

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  12. #1252
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Yes Reger probably wrote more fugues than any other 19th century composer

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  14. #1253
    Senior Member adriesba's Avatar
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    Oh my goodness, where did the time go?! It's been like two weeks since I looked at this thread! Sorry!

    If it hasn't been done already, I pick Shostakovich's string quartet #8.

  15. #1254
    Senior Member Bwv 1080's Avatar
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    Best listened to in a windowless room, better than best in an airless room - correctly speaking, a bunker sealed forever and enwrapped in tree-roots - the Eighth String Quartet of Shostakovich (Opus 110) is the living corpse of music, perfect in its horror. Call it the simultaneous asphyxiation and bleeding of melody. The soul strips itself of life in a dusty room.-William T. Vollmann

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  17. #1255
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    I’ve been hoping for another Shostakovich pick since we did the 4th quartet several months ago. This is definitely his most famous one and because of that I do think it tends to unfairly overshadow the others. But it’s still a great piece that I’m looking forward to studying. Here’s a fantastic article and website: http://www.quartets.de/compositions/ssq08.html

    And here’s Trout’s list of recommended recordings:

    1. Borodin Quartet (1967)
    2. Fitzwilliam String Quartet (1977)
    3. Borodin Quartet (1990)
    4. Emerson String Quartet (1998)
    5. Borodin Quartet (1962)
    6. Sorrel Quartet (2001)
    7. Kronos Quartet (1990)
    8. St. Lawrence String Quartet (2006)
    9. Pražák Quartet (2010)
    10. Hagen Quartet (2005)
    "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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  19. #1256
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bwv 1080 View Post
    Best listened to in a windowless room, better than best in an airless room - correctly speaking, a bunker sealed forever and enwrapped in tree-roots - the Eighth String Quartet of Shostakovich (Opus 110) is the living corpse of music, perfect in its horror. Call it the simultaneous asphyxiation and bleeding of melody. The soul strips itself of life in a dusty room.-William T. Vollmann
    Wow, that won't sell it to the uninitiated! Lol. I have a few recordings and I'll have a look through Trout's list for ideas too but don't expect me to agree with him! In all seriousness, my listening time this week will be limited but I'll see if I can at least listen to some of the most recommended recordings. The last time I played this it was either the Emerson or Rubio recordings.

    Edit: I've had some time today so I dug out what I have in the CD racks to listen to whilst ironing my work clothes.

    Ive always been an admirer of the Rubio Quartet Shosty cycle for it's consistency. Its not the greatest set out there but its a highly enjoyable one. However, this is one individual SQ and their 8th, whilst being tight in ensemble, lively and well-recorded, needs a little more bite in the 2nd movement. As part of a set that's fine but I'm looking for the best out there for this particular quartet.
    I also listened to my Altius Quartet recording. Why I haven't played this for some time, I don't know. It's an excellent performance (and is joined by equally fine 7th and 9th quartets). The sound is excellent and the Altius quartet play with heart and assurance. It's not as emotionally desolate as some would like in slower moments but personally I think they gauge it just right and don't go overboard on sentimentality. This is a very, very fine recording. Highly recommended.
    The Pavel Haas recording is one that slightly disappoints me (just slightly though). You can't knock the Pavel Haas' commitment to the cause but something is missing. I don't feel as moved by this one as the Altius recording. True, they attack the 2nd movement with gusto but it doesn't convince me and actually sounds a little scratchy and congested. The playing is stunning at times and the recorded sound is similarly impressive but it's not one I care to return to even if I do enjoy their other performances.
    The final recording for now is the Chilingirian one. It's another very fine effort and starts particularly well with a thoroughly convincing first 3 movements. There really isn't a bad word to say about this one. A thoroughly engaging performance.
    That's it for now but I should be able to get at a few more later however there are a heck of a lot of recordings of this SQ.

    ps. there's at least 50+ recordings of this quartet out there!
    Last edited by Merl; Sep-13-2020 at 18:33.

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  21. #1257
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    ps. there's at least 50+ recordings of this quartet out there!
    Apologies for quoting myself and double-posting but here's the list I put together of recordings of Shosty SQ8. There's probably more but these are some of the most well-known or easier to access online. Ignore my scruffy writing as I was rushing! BTW, the 4 I've starred* are the ones I have listened to up to now. I have a number on the HD to go at before I hit Spotify.

    IMG_20200913_184730.jpg
    Last edited by Merl; Sep-13-2020 at 18:54.

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  23. #1258
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    ^ There are many recordings indeed - Primephonic shows me 83 recordings. It’s not 100% accurate, but it usually gives a good approximate number. I concur that it’s a bit too many Shosty’s 8ths for one week.

    Last time I listened to all his SQs in two days, I was left a bit... traumatised. But I love Shostakovich, so I’m excited to discover the 8th SQ even further.
    Last edited by annaw; Sep-13-2020 at 19:12.

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  25. #1259
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Shostakovich String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110: I own one CD recording of this piece, conveniently on the same disc as No. 4. It's the historical June 1962 Mercury Living Presence recording of the Borodin Quartet. I'll start with this recording and then try the Emersons and Fitzwilliams, which I have on my streaming service. Here we have a major work in the SQ repertoire with which I'm already a little familiar, so I'm looking forward to digging deeply into it.

    Shosty String Q 4 Album Front.jpg
    Shosty String Q 4 Album Back.jpg

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  27. #1260
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    ^ There are many recordings indeed - Primephonic shows me 83 recordings. It’s not 100% accurate, but it usually gives a good approximate number.
    The streaming sites often give rather inflated numbers of recordings as it counts different versions of the same piece. For example, on Spotify, I have at least 6 'different' recordings of the first Borodin account but it's all the same one in different guises (same with the Brodskys and the Borodin's later remake).
    Last edited by Merl; Sep-13-2020 at 19:51.

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