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Thread: Weekly quartet. Just a music lover perspective.

  1. #1426
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    By no means a flop AFIC! Too much work and not enough listening for me this past week, but I am looking forward to Ligeti this weekend (being already very familiar with my selection that I'll post tomorrow).

  2. #1427
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simplicissimus View Post
    Too much work and not enough listening for me this past week, but I am looking forward to Ligeti this weekend.
    Exactly the same case for me. Had an utterly crazy week! Sampled Ligeti’s 1st quartet today and I’m interested to hear both of his quartets fully tomorrow .
    Last edited by annaw; Oct-16-2020 at 21:51.

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  4. #1428
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by annaw View Post
    Exactly the same case for me. Had an utterly crazy week! Sampled Ligeti’s 1st quartet today and I’m interested to hear both of his quartets fully tomorrow .
    In light of all this, I’m not going to post my new selection until late Sunday. More time for Ligeti!

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  6. #1429
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    Knorf, certainly not a flop in my view, just rather hard to talk about. I've listened to a variety of interpretations this week, but I think my favourite remains the Arditti SQ's version included in the Sony Ligeti Works set, although I think it's most likely a result of the fact that it's the version I heard first more than anything.

    Ligeti's music is, for me, a rare example of a contemporary composer that is equally stimulating on both intellectual and emotional levels, and the second quartet is a neat summing up of what Ligeti had been working on for the previous decade.

    The first movement's delicate sustained and disturbed harmonics make a sort of primordial soup, out of which bursts of energy and activity bubble, before dissolving again. Barely perceptible as individual voices on occasion, the different instruments seem to agitate each other until they spin off from each other, bounce around like particles in a heated dish, and then exhausted, return to their beautiful stupor.

    The second movement starts in a similar place to the first, but is clearly more micropolyphonic, with each of the voices starting together and then slowly drifting outwards, only to drop out and begin again. It feels a little cliched to say, but I understand this movement more as a series of shapes in space, rather than as just music. Like amorphous blobs expanding and contracting, like bubbles reaching their limits and then popping.

    The third movement, follows the same principles as the first two, but in terms of rhythm rather than colour or shape. I love the sound of the second half of the movement when rhythms ping from one instrument to the next, and then softly and slowly fade out to nothing.

    The fourth movement is the least interesting, in my opinion. It tries to pull the trick used in his larger scale works where a large sound mass is terminated, revealing sound that was always there, but not perceptible, creating the feeling of dropping into an abyss, but the small number of voices makes this ineffective in my opinion.

    The final movement is like a miniature version of Lontano, and the opening section is the best use of the micropolyphonic divergence in this piece. I find the fluttering voices enchanting. At around the half way point, there is a break into a romantic phrase that reminds me of Shostakovich, only to be replaced by rather spectral cello skittering. The way that the piece finally skitters off sends me right back to the beginning again.

    If you have chance, I recommend listening to this on good headphones.

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    Senior Member Iota's Avatar
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    Briefly, it's important to me and I think to the health of music in general, that a rich and diverse avant garde spectrum exists, full of new possibility and expressive horizons. But at the moment I'm not getting a lot from my visits there. The Ligeti and the Xenakis before certainly have plenty of interesting moments, but seen as though through a screen and the experience was not as meaningful/engaging as usual, but I'm sure it's a question of my current disposition rather than any integrity of the music.

    Having said that, I listened once with Arditti and twice with Parker, and agree with the earlier comment that the latter seem to approach it as more within an existing tradition, than a complete departure from it. Perhaps consequently I found I preferred that performance and found moments of poignancy in the first and last movements.

    Glad to have heard it anyway, it wasn't arduous at all, just rather detached for now, and I'd completely echo the sentiments above that it's no flop.

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  10. #1431
    Senior Member annaw's Avatar
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    So, I've now listened to both Ligeti quartets and I must say, I enjoyed them much more than I thought I would . I personally found the first quartet even more enjoyable than the second one thanks to its more conventional compositional language. Partly, it certainly comes down to my own relative inexperience with contemporary classical as well.

    What I think I struggled with most was the quietness which occupies a huge part of Ligeti's 2nd quartet. I don't get the all-in loudness from it. For me, the structure feels something like this: quiet - loud - quiet - loud ... . I think I'm just yearning for more cohesiveness but at the same time, I fully acknowledge Ligeti's skilfulness with different sonic musical structures. Those I found quite interesting to follow, particularly, the very beginning of the quartet, which sounds like some random bird sounds to me.

    Anyway, it was a very fascinating listening and, again, quite a revelation to me! I feel this thread has quite significantly helped me to come out of my musical comfort zone and discover some very interesting skilfully composed works.

    (PS! I'm not saying there is no cohesiveness in Ligeti's 2nd but my musically uneducated mind simply struggles to grasp it.)
    Last edited by annaw; Oct-17-2020 at 21:20.

  11. #1432
    Senior Member BlackAdderLXX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    For Thors's sake, there have been comments about date formatting than about Ligeti's Quartet No. 2.

    Did I just pick a flop?
    Lol. My mama taught me to keep my mouth shut if I don't have anything nice to say. This wasn't my cup of tea but I'm sure there's people who like it.
    If I had a time machine I'd go back and warn these artists about their album covers

  12. #1433
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Knorf View Post
    For Thors's sake, there have been comments about date formatting than about Ligeti's Quartet No. 2.

    Did I just pick a flop?
    No, there were an equal amount of negatives about my Korngold SQ. You picked one you like and that's all that matters. Shame you can't pick a football team that's any good though!

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  14. #1434
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allegro Con Brio View Post

    Nice to see that we have three new actively participating members in this thread - Rangstrom, newyorkconversation, and thejewk. Mind if I just scatter you at random throughout the nomination schedule or would you like a specific spot? Here's a proposed schedule for future nominators. Either way Simplicissimus is up next!

    Simplicissimus
    thejewk
    TurnaboutVox
    calvinpv
    newyorkconversation
    20centrfuge
    Iota
    Malx
    Rangstrom
    BlackAdderLXX
    starthrower
    annaw
    delighted to be included, thank you!

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  16. #1435
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    Ligeti's String Quartet No. 2 is definitely growing on me now that I've listened off and on over the week. The Artemis is the recording I have enjoyed the most. Another nice pick, and exposure to a work with which I was unfamiliar.
    Thanks Knorf!



    Plan to listen to No. 1 later today and then a different recording of No. 2. Most likely the Arditti Quartet.

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  18. #1436
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Ligeti SQ No. 2: I've listened over the past couple of days to recordings by the Arditti, Keller, and Artemis Quartets. I was pleased to find all three of these good recordings on my streaming service, the Keller in Ultra HD even.

    I found this an interesting work that repaid the attention I gave to it, but it definitely was not an easy listen. I appreciate the comments above by @thejewk, @annaw, and @Iota; I find them apt. What I liked most in this work were the passages in the first and last movements especially where there were deep and complex harmonic colors that hardly seemed to come from the four instruments at play. They were like emissions from some cosmic entity, unknown and unknowable. What I had trouble with was Ligeti's use -- overuse, to my ears -- of high, squeaky violin sound. I once suffered from tinnitus for a couple of years while I was recovering from a traumatic brain injury, and all I want to do when I hear this kind of sound is to get it out of my head. Is it supposed to convey a sort of angst or tension from the world of 1968 when Ligeti wrote this piece? I don't know. But in that regard, I preferred the Keller Quartet's recording, as it was the easiest on my ears. That's a rather unfortunate statement about my appreciation of the work, I suppose.

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  20. #1437
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    Knorf,

    Thanks for the introduction to this mysterious, fascinating string quartet (& no, you didn't pick a dud!). I listened to the Lasalle Quartet recording on DG, and thought they brought out an intensely imaginative, innovative, & yet strangely human element in Ligeti's music that I hadn't quite expected, as I've found the LaSalles to be a bit on the cold, clinical side in the past--such as with their late Beethoven (with the exception of their Schoenberg recordings, which are favorites of mine, and now the Ligeti).



    Bargain alert: If anyone else has enjoyed the Lasalle's recording, the following box set on DG contains both string quartet recordings and is currently a bargain--basically 4 CDs for the price of 1 (at $16.50)--at Presto Classical (until November 1st): https://www.prestomusic.com/classica...lear-or-cloudy. I'm going to purchase the set myself. Since the only other Ligeti works that I own in my collection are his 'other worldly' a cappella choral music, such as "Lux Aeterna" and "Im Gestein" and "Drei Phantasien nach Friedrich" and "Libera me, Domine", sung by A Capella Amsterdam, under the direction of Daniel Reuss (coupled with works for solo viola): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PuamZxuwfYo. For anyone that doesn't know, "Lux Aeterna" was famously used in Stanley Kubrick's film "2001: A Space Odyssey":

    https://www.prestomusic.com/classica...ti-lux-aeterna

    (A second bargain alert: By the way, another fantastic 'other worldly' choir performance of Ligeti's "Lux Aeterna" in my collection is via a wonderful 6 CD survey of the history of "European Choral Music" recorded by the late Eric Ericson & his remarkable Stockholm Chamber Choir: which has now been reissued by Warner, and is presently being offered at a very reduced price by Presto Classical--6 CDs for $14.50 (also a part of Presto's box set sale, until Nov. 1st): https://www.prestomusic.com/classica...n-choral-music.)
    Last edited by Josquin13; Oct-18-2020 at 20:24.

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  22. #1438
    Senior Member Simplicissimus's Avatar
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    Selection for Week of October 18

    Who's ready for some opulent melodies and gorgeous chords? I hope this isn't too much of a warhorse, but here's my string quartet selection for this week:

    Alexander Borodin's String Quartet No. 2 in D Major

    Borodin composed this work in 1881 during a productive year in which he also composed another work that has turned into a popular favorite, the symphonic poem From the Steppes of Central Asia. Whereas Borodin's first string quartet from two years earlier did not make much of an impression on the musical establishment or public in Russia, this one did. It soon rivaled Tchaikovsky's string quartets in popularity. The third "Notturno" movement has become one of the most famous and recognizable pieces of string quartet music in the repertoire.

    There are many recordings of this work. The Borodin Quartet (old and new) specialized in it, and the Emerson Quartet's 1986 recording is well known. I am centered this week on a 2012 recording by one of my favorite ensembles, the Leipziger Streichquartett which I have in my CD collection.

    Borodin SQ 2 Leipziger Album Cover.jpg

    Happy listening!

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  24. #1439
    Senior Member Allegro Con Brio's Avatar
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    Yay, I love Borodin's 2nd quartet! I know it's super popular but I really do think it's one of the most beautiful SQs in the repertoire. Trout has a recommended recording list:

    1. Borodin Quartet (1980)
    2. Borodin Quartet (1962)
    3. Hollywood String Quartet (1955)
    4. Lindsay String Quartet (2002)
    5. Cleveland Quartet (1988)
    6. Emerson String Quartet (1984)
    7. Takács Quartet (1995)
    8. St. Petersburg String Quartet (2001)
    "If we understood the world, we would realize that there is a logic of harmony underlying its manifold apparent dissonances." - Jean Sibelius

    "Art, like morality, consists of drawing the line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton

    "Ceaseless work, analysis, reflection, writing much, endless self-correction, that is my secret." - Johann Sebastian Bach

  25. #1440
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Jeez I've got lots of recordings of this one. I feel a marathon listen coming on.

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