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Thread: Robinson Panoramic Quartet (Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass)

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    Senior Member GucciManeIsTheNewWebern's Avatar
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    Jul 2020
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    Default Robinson Panoramic Quartet (Violin, Viola, Cello, Bass)

    I've been listening to this quartet based in Dublin that explores the instrumentation of Violin, Viola and Cello bass by performing pieces by contemporary composers (given that there's nothing else in the repertoire). I find this instrumentation incredibly fascinating and while it does pose some practical challenges in part writing I think a good and creative composer can overcome them and manipulate the unique blend of timbres to their advantage.

    They have have some videos on YouTube of them playing. I listened to the String Quartet by Matthew Whiteside (which I didn't care for at all), then "Pulse" by Daniel Barkley and "A Quart of Beer and a Pint of Insouciance" by Brian Ingold, both of which I loved.

    Per their website:

    "The identity of this grouping is not that of a standard quartet with a few extra low notes: the shift in roles for viola and cello changes everything, and the double-bass adds a wealth of potential textures and timbres. Having four distinct voices rather than two identical ones at the top invites the composer to explore four identities and also facilitates greater overall equality because no instrument has timbral dominance. The range of the violin extends far beyond the upper limit of the human voice (a worthwhile reference point) and the extension to the lower range afforded by the double bass seems an entirely logical balance."

    What are all your thoughts on this? I've only listened to the aforementioned pieces so I'll have to check out more. I think there's a lot of untapped potential in this sort of quartet.

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    Senior Member Oldhoosierdude's Avatar
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    I liked the playing. This is one of those pieces I don't know if I like at first. Not sure I grasp it. Sometimes in these cases I get more out of it with additional listening.
    I don't live in the past,
    there's no future in it.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Jul 2016
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    I actually quite enjoyed that. For some reason I kept thinking of it as almost a piece of improvised rock music yet I have no idea why I thought that.

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