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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #1321
    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    Course I can. I had 3 quartets I was thinking of doing but ive narrowed it down to 1. Its not a massively popular one with stacks of recordings, thankfully, and im sure you'll like it Jos. If the others pick one then ill just drop back in line. Nps.
    I just responded to Josquin's PM. Had to work today, so just read it. But if Merl is ready then please go ahead, and I can choose next week if Portamento and Shosty haven't reappeared. Thanks for taking over this task Josquin. Greatly appreciated. This is a terrific thread.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by sbmonty; Sep-20-2020 at 00:30.

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  3. #1322
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    Okay, I've now heard from Portamento, Shosty, and sbmonty (as he mentions above), regarding next week's quartet choice. Portamento has asked to postpone until next week, while Shosty is sick with COVID-19, but has gotten through his first week and fortunately says he's feeling better. That means sbmonty is up next on our list, and he's ready to go with a quartet for tomorrow.

    So sbmonty, it's your turn.

    Merl, thanks for being on call as a back up. Your pick will come after Portamento chooses next week.

    Thanks everyone.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Sep-20-2020 at 04:21.

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    Senior Member thejewk's Avatar
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    Thanks for the links and interesting posts Josquin. That website with a section for each of the quartets will be most useful for my exploration of the rest of the cycle as well.

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  7. #1324
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbmonty View Post
    I just responded to Josquin's PM. Had to work today, so just read it. But if Merl is ready then please go ahead, and I can choose next week if Portamento and Shosty haven't reappeared. Thanks for taking over this task Josquin. Greatly appreciated. This is a terrific thread.

    Cheers!
    You're not getting out of it that easy, sbmonty. I'm back in the queue. It's your shout.

  8. #1325
    Senior Member sbmonty's Avatar
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    Well then, firstly I would like to wish my very best to Shosty. I am happy to hear they are recovering.

    I was initially going to go with either Martinů No. 5 or Dvořák No. 10. I eventually settled on:

    Sibelius: String Quartet In D Minor, Op. 56, "Voces Intimae"

    I chose this primarily because, despite it's relative popularity, I haven't explored it much at all and I'm really curious to hear your thoughts on this work. There are also quite a number of choices for comparative listening. One day I do hope we get to discussing Martinů's cycle however.

    I own only one recording of this work by the Dante Quartet.


  9. #1326
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sbmonty View Post
    Well then, firstly I would like to wish my very best to Shosty. I am happy to hear they are recovering.

    I was initially going to go with either Martinů No. 5 or Dvořák No. 10. I eventually settled on:

    Sibelius: String Quartet In D Minor, Op. 56, "Voces Intimae"

    I chose this primarily because, despite it's relative popularity, I haven't explored it much at all and I'm really curious to hear your thoughts on this work. There are also quite a number of choices for comparative listening. One day I do hope we get to discussing Martinů's cycle however.

    I own only one recording of this work by the Dante Quartet.

    Oh god there's tons of this one and I have a few.

    Some background from wiki:

    Composed between his Third and Fourth Symphony, it remained "the only major work for string quartet of Sibelius's mature period".

    Sibelius composed the quartet from December 1908, working on it in London in early 1909. The Latin title, translating to "Intimate Voices" or "Inner voices", marks a "conversational quality" and "inwardness" of the music. The composer wrote about his work in a letter to his wife: "It turned out as something wonderful. The kind of thing that brings a smile to your lips at the hour of death. I will say no more." Sibelius showed it to his publisher Robert Lienau on 15 April 1909.

    The first performance was on 25 April 1910 at the Helsinki Music Institute. A review in the Helsingin Sanomat noted: "The composition attracted a great deal of attention, and it is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant products in its field. It is not a composition for the public at large, it is so eccentric and out of the ordinary.". Sibelius later wrote about the composition: "The melodic material is good but the harmonic material could be 'lighter', and even 'more like a quartet."

    Sibelius structured the quartet in five movements:

    Andante – Allegro molto moderato
    Vivace
    Adagio di molto
    Allegretto (ma pesante)
    Allegro

    The work opens with a dialogue of violin and cello. The first movement contrasts "murmurous figuration with firm chords". The second movement is a scherzo in A major, connected to the first by musical motifs. The central slow movement has been described as a "soulful quest for serenity in F major". It contains "three detached, soft chords in E minor, remote from any of the previous harmonic implications", to which Sibelius added the "voces intimae" in a friend's score. A second scherzo is also connected by motivic similarity to the first movement. The finale, "with more than a hint of folk fiddling", grows in intensity by markings from Allegro to "sempre più energico" (always more energetic), described as "fiercely accented music of forceful contrasts but irresistible momentum".
    Last edited by Merl; Sep-20-2020 at 14:23.

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  11. #1327
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    ^ This is a great choice! I’m starting to listen and love it. Can’t believe I’ve not gotten into this SQ before now. On streaming, I’m going with the Emersons and the Tempera Quartet (Finnish).

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    A terrific choice, sbmonty, thanks. It's worth mentioning that the period between the Sibelius 3rd & 4th Symphonies was a very difficult time for Sibelius & his wife, so that may be part of this quartet, as it is known to be a part of his 4th Symphony. It will be interesting to hear.

    thejewk writes, "That website with a section for each of the quartets will be most useful for my exploration of the rest of the cycle as well."

    Yes, that website is exceptional. I've found it to be an invaluable guide to the whole cycle of Shostakovich's string quartets & to each quartet. It was helpful when we did Shostakovich's 4th String Quartet earlier in our thread.

    Lastly, I wanted to mention a mistake that I made in my previous post. I wrote that the sounds of anti-aircraft flak that I linked to were "modern", however, they are not, they're actually from the World War Two era. So they are precisely the kinds of sounds that Shostakovich would have heard and known. Therefore, it's definitely worth comparing these sounds to the 4th movement of the 8th, as the similarities are striking.

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  15. #1329
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I've done my usual list for the Sibelius SQ. Here's all the recordings I found (see pic below). There are 34 of them - feel free to mention any others you know of. I have the Tempera, Emerson, Engegard and Fitzwilliam. Looking forward to sampling the others. At over half an hour in length I don't know how many I'll get thru this week but at least I can review the ones I've got almost immediately (after a quick reminder of how they sound). I only played the Fitzwilliam recording (my standard reference for this one) a few weeks ago so that's still fresh in the memory.

    IMG_20200920_164344.jpg
    Last edited by Merl; Sep-20-2020 at 16:58.

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  17. #1330
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    I've done my usual list for the Sibelius SQ. Here's all the recordings I found (see pic below). There are 34 of them - feel free to mention any others you know of. I have the Tempera, Emerson, Engegard and Fitzwilliam. Looking forward to sampling the others.

    IMG_20200920_164344.jpg
    I've found two recordings which are available on Youtube but not on any streaming:

    Budapest has done (at least) two recordings: 1933 and 1956. The 1933 was reissued by Warner in 2015 as a part of a bigger boxset but the individual performance is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sn4Z...dHerbertHolmes

    There's also a live recording by Smetana quartet (1956) - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iFQs...ncontrariomotu

    I'm really excited about getting better acquainted with this string quartet!
    Last edited by annaw; Sep-20-2020 at 20:55.

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  19. #1331
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    On first impression, the Smetana Quartet sounds like they find more gravitas in this music than others. I've briefly looked into the quartet, which was composed in 1908-1909, and was apparently right to connect it to the 4th Symphony--Sibelius's biographer Erik Tawaststejerna writes, "both Voces Intimae and the Fourth Symphony[1910-11] reflect his inner life during the years immediately after the operation [for a tumour] when he had passed through the shadow of the valley of death." I'll comment more on this later.

    Right now, I'm liking what I'm hearing from the Vertavo Quartet on You Tube, and the LAWO label offers audiophile sound quality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dIY6...wndrqU&index=5
    Last edited by Josquin13; Sep-20-2020 at 18:37.

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  21. #1332
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    There's also a Copenhagen Quartet recording from the LP era that I missed.

    Ive gone back to a few of my recordings already. The Fitzwilliams account is a classic of the analogue era and is a fiery and closely miked affair that still sounds great. The Emersons are technically superb and the first movement and adagio are beautifully captured. If I have one criticism of their account its that they don't have the fire of the Fitzwilliams (not something you'd expect to hear about the Emersons) but this is a fine performance. The Engegard are superb in their stunning recording. They have just the right amount of oomph, accompanied by lovely delicate playing in slow movements and this is on the same disc as their top of the shop recording of Grieg SQ that I gave a glowing review to. This really is a belter of a disc and with audiophile sound.
    Last edited by Merl; Sep-20-2020 at 18:50.

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  23. #1333
    Senior Member Knorf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    There's also a Copenhagen Quartet recording from the LP era that I missed.
    You have now lost all credibility.


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  25. #1334
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    There's also a Copenhagen Quartet recording from the LP era that I missed.
    It's actually been released as CD as well by Classico in 2004 along with Copenhagen Quartet's recordings of some other Scandinavian SQs but it doesn't seem to be readily available either. There're a few other obscure LP recordings as well (Borodin, Pascal, Claremont) but I doubt they can be found online.
    Last edited by annaw; Sep-20-2020 at 20:59.

  26. #1335
    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    Sweet. I love this one. Good pick.
    I'm realizing that my answer to the "favorite recording" question is usually Bruno Walter.

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