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Thread: The Contemporary String Quartet: works written since 1970

  1. #121
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNvXXT View Post
    His first quartet is a masterpiece IMO.

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Nicolaus Richter de Vroe (*1955): lum'q'uart'inance (1986)



    played by the composer with Stephan Kalbe, Reimund Dewerny & Egbert Schimmelpfennig

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    Abrahamsen - String Quartet No. 1 "10 Preludes for String Quartet"

    William Overcash, violin
    Heemin Choi, violin
    Jebat Kee, viola
    Jakob Nierenz, cello



    Recorded LIVE at Duncan Recital Hall, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University on December 7, 2016.

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  6. #124
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    Ernst Krenek: String Quartet No.8, Op. 233 (1980)


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    Senior Member arpeggio's Avatar
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    For me it seems that the string quartet is still a vibrant medium in contemporary music.

    I have read that one of the reasons is the string quartet as an ensemble can live with a new work several weeks before they perform it. Unlike an orchestra which has to perform a new work after just a few rehearsals.

    I enjoyed many of the above examples.

    Some string quartets I have just discovered in the Fromm Music Foundation 20th Century Composers Series:
    Benjamin Less: String Quartet #1
    William Denny: String Quartet #2
    Jerome Rosen: String Quartet #1
    Ilhan Usmanbas: String Quartet
    Last edited by arpeggio; Apr-29-2021 at 04:03.
    It is impossible to make anything foolproof because fools are so ingenious. And I am a very ingenious fellow

  9. #126
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    Quote Originally Posted by WNvXXT View Post
    Thanks for this - I'm on a very enjoyable Philip Glass kick with his symphonies, but hadn't done his chamber work yet.

  10. #127
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    Quote Originally Posted by arpeggio View Post
    For me it seems that the string quartet is still a vibrant medium in contemporary music.
    On the matter of vibrancy, I've recently been made aware of the String Quartet Smackdown* via Ted Gioia's blog. It seems to be a lot of varied and sometimes suprising fun, and worthwhile both as endeavour and entertainment.

    It doesn't seem to have been mentioned here before, but I can't (for the moment) think of any other competitions for string quartet composers/compositions, as opposed to performers. Perhaps I've lived a sheltered life and simply missed them, but if so, I'd be happy to hear of any.

    * https://www.goldenhornet.org/smackdown
    ** https://tedgioia.substack.com/p/here...-i-recommended

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  12. #128
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    Frank Zappa - None Of The Above (1982-85)
    Kronos Quartet


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  14. #129
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    I recall liking very much Carlos Surinach´s SQ from the mid-seventies. I have it on a VOX 2-CD set titled New World Composers From The Old World, in which the New World Quartet (that´s the ensemble name if memory serves) performed several 20th century String Quartets.

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    stacy garrop | string quartet no 4 'illuminations' (2011) | avalon string quartet



    A very good new string quartet.

    - Notes by Susan Yasillo and Stacy Garrop

    Stacy Garrop’s String Quartet No. 4: Illuminations was inspired by five illuminated pages from a medieval Book referred to as “The Hours of Catherine of Cleves.” Books of Hours, the most prolific book of the late Middle Ages, are prayer books for lay people that enable a person to participate privately in the daily round of prayers and devotions that were originally recited only by monks and priests. The main text of a Book of Hours contains a cycle of daily devotions consisting of psalms, lessons from scriptures, hymns, collects and other prayers. Because Books of Hours did not have page numbers or indexes, the illuminations (or illustrations) enabled the owner to quickly find the text needed for reciting the prayers. The quality and number of illuminations, often using silver and gold, depended upon the patron’s ability to pay.

    Catherine (1417-1476), duchess of Guelders and countess of Zutphen, commissioned her Book of Hours and received it around 1442. Today her Book of Hours is considered to be the masterpiece of the finest (although anonymous) Dutch illuminator of the late Middle Ages. “The Hours of Catherine of Cleves” is one of the finest in the collection of Books of Hours in the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.

    In trying to craft the experience of reading Cleves’ Book of Hours, the composer approached the work similarly to Modest Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition. As in Mussorgsky’s work, the audience follows the reader as he or she opens the Book of Hours, studies and reflects upon five illuminations, and then closes the book at the end of prayer.

    Below is a brief description of the five illuminations represented in the quartet:

    Plate 1. Catherine of Cleves Prays to the Virgin and Child
    The first illumination in Catherine’s book shows her kneeling before the Virgin and Child praying, “O, Mother of God, have mercy on me.” The setting may be the castle chapel in Cleves and the statue at the top center of the panel may be of St. Nicholas, the patron saint of the Cleves castle. Musical angels are on the battlements and coats of arms of Catherine’s ancestors surround the illumination. The composer based this movement on the Gregorian Chant “Ave Maria.”

    Plate 3. Singing Angels
    Three angels start to sing the hymn “Te Deum Laudamus” (although this hymn is not utilized in the quartet). The beginning words are on the banderol, “We praise thee, O God.” It is thought that this illumination refers to the preceding one, now missing, of the Annunciation to St. Anne (Mother to be of the Virgin Mary). The large open pea pods of the boarder are symbols of fertility. For this plate, the composer envisioned a harmonious chorus of angels and achieved this sound using high string harmonics.

    Plate 24. Christ Carrying the Cross
    This illumination shows Christ carrying the cross with Simon of Cyrene, St. John and the Virgin Mary behind him. Hanging from Christ’s waist are two blocks of wood with nails that torture his ankles and feet. St. Veronica appears on the left side margin. The music for this plate invokes the sound of Christ’s feet as he slowly walks to his final destination.

    Plate 99. Mouth of Hell
    This illumination of Hell begins the Office of the Dead. One prayed often for protection from and to prepare for death, which could be sudden and unexpected due in part to the plague and new strains of influenza. This frightening entrance to hell has one mouth with talons and pointed teeth leading to a second fiery mouth with creatures boiling souls in the depths of hell. Around the picture, souls are being tormented while at the top a third mouth of fire is heating caldrons into which souls are cast. At the bottom is a green creature spewing out scrolls with the names of the seven deadly sins. The music captures both the ghoulish glee of the demons as they carry out their tortures, as well as the wailing souls of the unfortunate inmates of hell.

    Plate 35 Trinity Enthroned
    The Trinity, similar in posture and dress, sit on a throne with the Father on the left, the Son in the middle and the Holy Ghost on the right. The banderoles address death and salvation. The text on this page begins with the plea, “Oh, God, come to my assistance.” In the middle of the text a prayer begins, ”Glory be to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.” The nine different colored angels around the throne are thought to represent different orders of celestial beings. The composer sought to represent the majesty and benevolence of the Trinity, represented by a string of three-note chords (one note for each member of the Trinity).

    String Quartet No. 4: Illuminations was commissioned by Nicholas Yasillo in honor of his wife, Susan, who has a passion for learning about Books of Hours.

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    Salvatore Sciarrino: String quartet N°7


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    Kelley SheehanFour Sharp Corners
    performed by Elara Quartet (2018)


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