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I still needed one day for the "Fifth" quartet, but I listened only to four altogether (I used to love this quartet, it was among the handful I first heard and probably for years my favorite of all Haydn together with 76/5 but by now I am bit burned out on it, my op.76 favs are now 4+5). Eder, Jerusalem, Tatrai, Mosaiques. Of these the last was my clear favorite. The Eder is good but rather cool and not very memorable. The Tatrai had the slowest first movement, almost melancholy, overall solid but not that special either. Jerusalem is very (too?) fast in the first movement but that doesn't make it more dramatic rather a bit superficial. Mosaiques are more flexible, more attention to detail and of these the most rustic trio (still not quite enough stomping folkdance for me). I listened to the whole Mosaique disc (+#3 and #6) and liked it quite a bit.

I have never heard the Bridge SQ #2 but I think I liked the few other pieces of his I heard (probably cello sonata and piano quartet).
 

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Nice choice Henry - I'm not up to speed on Bridge's second quartet, I have a couple of recordings of the third and the Goldner recording of the fourth, which as you will know is in a more modern idiom.


You are not losing your marbles Merl - if I recall correctly it was the third quartet we mentioned as I think both of us had considered it as a choice.
He never said he was losing his marbles, he was worried that they might be becoming loose. ;)
 

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But then loose marbles are best removed.
Chronic loose marbles must be removed, but an acute episode of loose marbles, by definition, will pass with the correct treatment and a suitable period of recuperation and if necessary, a programme of rehabilitation.
 
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I think this reaction may have come about through your way of listening. If your head is full of preconceptions about how it should sound, then it will be hard to enjoy an interpretation like this. Taken on its own terms then I think it's not without interest, especially in a warhorse quartet like this, where there are many many well played but hackneyed and conventional recordings.
This idea of numerous recordings of many popular works sounding the same is an interesting one but I'm not sure it's as common as you imply. Isn't it a little too broad? Many performances can reflect current ideas about how Haydn (or any other popular composer) should go but still vary in terms of the details, where some can do delightful or interesting or compelling things without breaking with the current tradition while others just may not display the imagination to do that. Of course, it can also be very rewarding to hear performers break with that current tradition and do something totally different but doing that can also lead to disaster. It's a risk.

BTW if you look at Merl's blog you will find a wide variety of performing styles recommended. Some are close in style to others but still bring their own distinctive flavours to the works. I don't necessarily agree with every gradation of desirability that Merl applies but I do recognise the differences and am not sure any of the praised accounts could be described as "hackneyed and conventional".
 

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Thank you again, Henry, for choosing this quartet! Very attractive music, at least, I feel attracted ... in a somehow mysterious way. The music seems strange and familiar simultaneously.

Written 1914-15? Shortly after Sacre?

Intro (quite long - about one minute and half) - serious, but friendly and warm, a little melancholic, a little dithery, well, after all, G minor, isn't it? (Brahms op. 25, Debussy op. 10).
1st subject - initially actively proceeding, but suddenly flowing in a quite restrained way, almost falling back in the intro's mood. Over-optimistic, the opening scales in unisono?
2nd subject - veiled, woolly, but smoothly caressing, the first clearly positive section in the piece. Bridge unfolds lots of charme that make this piece attractive. Maybe he is at his best at such sections.
Development - touching nightmare spheres, incertainty everywhere (take the soli for cello), Bridge keeps the music gloomy but flowing, he doesn't reveal his secrets. However, the music is at the same time somehow charming.
In the recap the 2nd subject is much more serene. The nightmares are over. Great section. Streaming beauty and love.

There is some logic behind the fact that the middle movement is not a slow one: the first movement had enough aspects of a slow movement. A fine kind of tumbling Scherzo, late descendant of baroque gigues, with a trio reminding the 1st movement's moods. Well, it is not exactly what we would call a trio, is it?

Third movement, intro again ... even longer than in the first movement ... it starts serene, but becomes fully depressive ... falling chromatic scales, grief and misery ... however, the intro ends with a bright chord ... optimism again? Pizzicati coming along, like goblins, leading to some imaginary world, some never-never-land.

However, about two minutes before the end, the music seems to return (coming home?) to the quite restrainedly flowing moods of the first movement. But the riddles remain somehow unsolved, the music does not reveal all of its secrets, the ending is rather overplaying all ambiguities than solving them.

A great work. Curious to discover the other quartets of Frank Bridge.
 

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Terrific summary!

Thank you again, Henry, for choosing this quartet! Very attractive music, at least, I feel attracted ... in a somehow mysterious way. The music seems strange and familiar simultaneously.

Written 1914-15? Shortly after Sacre?

Intro (quite long - about one minute and half) - serious, but friendly and warm, a little melancholic, a little dithery, well, after all, G minor, isn't it? (Brahms op. 25, Debussy op. 10).
1st subject - initially actively proceeding, but suddenly flowing in a quite restrained way, almost falling back in the intro's mood. Too optimistic, the opening scales in unisono?
2nd subject - veiled, woolly, but smoothly caressing, the first clearly positive section in the piece. Bridge unfolds lots of charme that make this piece attractive. Maybe he is at his best at such sections.
Development - touching nightmare spheres, incertainty everywhere (take the soli for cello), Bridge keeps the music gloomy but flowing, he doesn't reveal his secrets. However, the music is at the same time somehow charming.
In the recap the 2nd subject is much more serene. The nightmares are over. Great section. Streaming beauty and love.

There is some logic behind the fact that the middle movement is not a slow one: the first movement had enough aspects of a slow movement. A fine kind of tumbling Scherzo, late descendant of baroque gigues, with a trio reminding the 1st movement's moods. Well, it is not exactly what we would call a trio, is it?

Third movement, intro again ... even longer than in the first movement ... it starts serene, but becomes fully depressive ... falling chromatic scales, grief and misery ... however, the intro ends with a bright chord ... optimism again? Pizzicati coming along, like goblins, leading to some imaginary world, some never-never-land.

However, about two minutes before the end, the music seems to return (coming home?) to the quite restrainedly flowing moods of the first movement. But the riddles remain somehow unsolved, the music does not reveal all of its secrets, the ending is rather overplaying all ambiguities than solving them.

A great work. Curious to discover the other quartets of Frank Bridge.
 

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Listening to the Bridge quartet now (Maggini) and perhaps the long slow introduction to the finale acts in place of a full-length slow movement. The first movement doesn't feel slow enough to be a slow movement and the second is most definitely scherzic in scope. Arthur Bliss does a similar thing in his Violin Concerto, but on a much larger scale than this quartet.
 

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Henry, that was amazing. It had me at hello. Gorgeous, romantic music with some chromatic ambiguity a la late Faure, and occasionally some of that British melancholy I find so attractive in Elgar's music, among others.

Add to cart.
 

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This is a quartet that bears more fruit the more you listen. I will blog this one but of the 3 quartets I've listened to the Maggini Quartet and the Bridge String Quartet are far more enjoyable than the Brandisi, who add an unnecessary layer of vibrato that this piece really does not need. What a shame I haven't had a chance to listen to the Delme Quartet account yet, as this material is right up their street, but I can't be bothered paying out for it yet. If anyone finds a link to that performance on YouTube, etc please post it. The soundbites on the Chandos site sound very good.



Edit - my current blog review is below but it's not a huge one. Lol.

 

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Well thanks Henry for pointing me in the direction of Bridge's 2nd quartet - as is often the case I am going backwords with this composer having initially discovered his quartets via the 4th then the 3rd, both very fine works.
My initial reaction to the second was - well that was pleasant enough, but as with so many pieces familiarity breeds not contempt but respect, its a grower and I'm happy to say I have added it to my wish list.

I listened to three recordings that were readily available to me on Qobuz, the Maggini which Henry advocates in his initial post along with the Brindisi and Bridge Quartets.
I will qualify the next statement with the rider that I am new to the piece so others may find my conclusions wide of the mark - the Brindisi's by name may be encouraging me to drink but I found their recording to be a bit like Champagne with no fizz, the Bridge Quartet were a deal better and very enjoyable but the Maggini's just seemed to nail this one for me - they manage to keep the whole moving along nicely with a coherence that the others don't achieve add that to very good sound and I think this is a recording I'd be happy to live with.

Edit - I have just read Merl's blog and I promise I didn't copy in class, sir :oops:
 

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I had a similar reaction to the Bridge, which was new to me. "Seems pleasant enough"...

Yet in thinking about it and remembering it, it's gotten a bit under my skin, somehow.
 

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This style and era is very attractive to me: the dust settling on the 19th century and twentieth century not sure if it wants to be hard-edged or continue to wallow in the luscious extended harmonies of late romantic music.

I haven’t had time to delve into this piece too much, but it pushes all of my buttons. I have heard some Bridge played here and there, but I can’t believe with such attractive, emotionally compelling music that he isn’t heard more often.

This is a big discovery for me. Love it.
 
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