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  1. Blog
    The last of his quartets, Reger's 5th quartet was dedicated to the Bohemians and was premiered by them in Dresden in October 1911. Whilst slightly romantic and tonal, the work has great complexity and (surprise surprise) Reger's trademark fugal development. The first movement is long, taking up...
  2. Blog
    German composer, Max Reger, finished his 3rd quartet, in D minor, in 1904. Its an intriguing but again frustrating work and marks a further move away from the late romantic quartet and into a more personalised soundworld of his own. It's in four movements and both the first and third movements...
  3. Blog
    Reger's 2nd String Quartet in A major almost mirrors the first quartet stylistically at first but is made up of 3 movements not 4. At just over 20 mins it's Reger's shortest quartet and not one of my favourites, tbh. Again we begin with a restless, disjointed first movement, Allegro assai e...
  4. Blog
    Max Reger wrote a great deal of chamber music in a relatively short career and his 1st String Quartet was written at the turn of the 20th century. The opening movement, Allegro agitato is dense, agitated and all the instruments are given equal importance and time to shine. This is a tricky...
  5. Blog
    Novak's 1st String Quartet was composed in 1899 and it won the Czech Chamber Music Society Prize in 1900. Supposedly influenced by Novák's travels it is said to contain melodies and rhythms of the regions he visited during his travels. The opening Allegro moderato, for example, was inspired by...
  6. Blog
    Novák followed Dvorak's example of using folk music from his home country as inspiration in his quartets but he also travelled widely in bordering countries so they use melodies and ideas from other Slavic countries too. His 3rd quartet could, in some ways, be classed as a 'war' work as it...
  7. Blog
    The longest of Suk's chamber works, the single-movement String Quartet No. 2 was completed in Krecovice in May 1911. This difficult work shows none of his earlier influences and, with its complex harmonies and motivic structure, seemed avant-garde for its day (the Berlin premiere of November...
  8. Blog
    Although Suk was a successful violinist and member of the legendary Czech Quartet (with whom he stayed until 1933) he was predominantly a composer. Suk's early works often show the influence of Dvořák (his father in law), and Brahms, but are original in conception and no mere copy of these...
  9. Blog
    Arthur Farwell (1872-1952) was an American composer, conductor, educationalist and music publisher. After becoming interested in Native American Indian music, he became associated with the Indianist movement and founded the Wa-Wan Press to publish it. He combined teaching, composing and...
  10. Blog
    The 3rd String Quartet (in F major, Op. 73) was composed just after World War 2 and after his 9th symphony. Shostakovich originally explained that it reflected the hardships of life in the Soviet Union during the war years. It was composed in a period of huge nervousness and volatility and he...
  11. Opera
    Ralph Moore Recorded Opera Surveys Personally I've found these surveys to be an invaluable resource in building my opera collection. While I may not always agree with his recommendations or commentary, it's still the most exhaustive comparison of recordings that I've come across. What do you think?
  12. Blog
    Kurt Weill’s 1st numbered String Quartet was composed in 1923 (when he was just 23) whilst Weill was under the tutelage of Busoni. Here Weill says goodbye to the Romanticism of his youth and heads into far more adventurous areas. His immature, earlier string quartet, in B minor, was a more...
  13. Blog
    Born in Florence, Italy, Cherubini studied at two Italian conservatories before moving to Paris in 1788, where he lived for the rest of his life. Known for his earlier operas, Cherubini turned to writing religious and instrumental music later in life and was director of the Paris Conservatory...
  14. Blog
    Enescu's 2nd String Quartet was composed between 1950 and 1951 and went thru a series of revisions in the next few years. The score was dedicated to the American pianist, composer, and arts patron, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge. (the patron of works by Britten, Bartok, Schoenberg, Prokofiev and...
  15. Blog
    A devotee of Tchaikovsky music, Taneyev saw himself as the writer of "pure" music rather than Russian or so-called nationalistic music made up of Russian folk melodies but his first quartet is full of these very Russian themes, especially in the first movement of his 1st string quartet. Taneyev...
  16. Blog
    Enescu's began work on his 1st quartet on New Year's Day 1916 but he had to postpone completing it till 1920 due to the outbreak of the First World War. It was premiered the same year with Enescu, himself, playing the viola. It is a interesting, complex but overly long quartet (around 45...
  17. Blog
    Cerha's second quartet was written in 1990 stating that his insiration was music from Papua New Guinea. For me, that's slightly more evident in the first quartet and tbh I hear very little of those sing-sing melodies or percussive cross-rhythms in this quartet and more echoes of Berg...
  18. Blog
    Atterberg’s String Quartet No.2 in b minor dates from 1916 and was dedicated to “The Splinter” - a group of composers who had broken away from the Chamber Music Society of Stockholm and had tried to start a rival society. The inspiration for the quartet was from the suggestion of friend and...
  19. Blog
    Born in Stockholm, Ture Rangström was a composer, critic and singer who studied in Stockholm and with Pfitzner in Berlin. After carving out a moderate career as a singer, he later got a far more postive name for himself as a conductor. Rangström's only String Quartet, Ein Nachtstück, was written...
  20. Blog
    Atterberg's String Quartet No.3 in D Major is actually a revisiting of his first string quartet, his Op.2, which was incomplete. It originally consisted of two movements, a scherzo and a romance and was composed in 1909. He returned to it again in 1936 and added two more movements. It was then...
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