Poll

Which is it?

Carter
12 (26.7%)
Schnittke
4 (8.9%)
Simpson
2 (4.4%)
Rochberg
1 (2.2%)
Rihm
1 (2.2%)
Johnston
2 (4.4%)
Norgard
0 (0%)
Someone else
23 (51.1%)

Total Members Voted: 37

Author Topic: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle  (Read 12260 times)

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Offline Gaspard de la nuit

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #40 on: October 28, 2016, 10:08:35 AM »
Does György Kurtág count, or does it have to say "String Quartet No. n"?  If so, then maybe James Dillon.

Offline Turbot nouveaux

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #41 on: November 09, 2016, 07:26:26 AM »
I was just going to say Kurtág when you posted, Gaspard. I've enjoyed his works for string quartet above many other contenders mentioned above. Gubaidulina, Elizabeth Maconchy whose 6th quartet was written in 1950 and her 13th in 1984 and Grazyna Bacewicz whose quartets 4 - 7 are post 1950 are also interesting. Carter I'm less sure I enjoy (or make aural sense of). Schnittke's and Ferneyhough's string quartets I like a lot. Of Haas and Rihm, Dillon, Coates, Philippe Manoury and Simpson, I enjoy what I've heard, which is by no means everything, especially of Robert Simpson. Yet!

Offline Gaspard de la nuit

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #42 on: November 20, 2016, 11:09:43 AM »
I was just going to say Kurtág when you posted, Gaspard. I've enjoyed his works for string quartet above many other contenders mentioned above. Gubaidulina, Elizabeth Maconchy whose 6th quartet was written in 1950 and her 13th in 1984 and Grazyna Bacewicz whose quartets 4 - 7 are post 1950 are also interesting. Carter I'm less sure I enjoy (or make aural sense of). Schnittke's and Ferneyhough's string quartets I like a lot. Of Haas and Rihm, Dillon, Coates, Philippe Manoury and Simpson, I enjoy what I've heard, which is by no means everything, especially of Robert Simpson. Yet!

Bacewicz is incredible! I didn't think she would count since half her cycle is outside of the time frame but but she is definitely a favorite SQ composer of mine. And I love all that Gubaidulina does. Haas and Rihm are other good choices as well.

I like Carters first quartet a lot but the others just don't do it for me either.
I'll have to give Ferneyhough another try though and check out Maconchy while I'm at it.

Offline James

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #43 on: November 20, 2016, 01:12:52 PM »
The same could be said of pre-1950 cycles.  But, taking you at your word, which works?

Pre-1950. Bartók's cycle is great. Nothing post-1950 comes close as a cycle to that, in fact in the entire history of western composition, few touch them  .. don't care what anyone says otherwise. Then you have major contenders like Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Shostakovich, Ravel, Janáček .. all wrote great music for the medium. Truly great. Post-1950 ..

Both of Ligeti's are truly wonderful.

Other than that what we get is uneven cycles, so perhaps a work from Ferneyhough, Dillon, Lachenmann, Dutilleux, Rihm, Nancarrow, Carter and some others.
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Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #44 on: November 20, 2016, 01:35:30 PM »
Schoenberg's 4 are uneven, both stylistically and artistically.

I disagree.  Any of them is far better than any of Shostakovich's, and I'd place them on par with Bartok's, easily, fit to stand comparison with the Beethoven and Haydn and Mozart cycles.  They're no more stylistically uneven than the Bartok or Beethoven quartets are.

Not to say that I agree with James, either, though; Carter's cycle is certainly excellent.
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Spineur

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #45 on: November 20, 2016, 01:39:39 PM »
I also like Carter quartets.  As individual piece, my preference goes to "Ainsi va la nuit", Henri Dutilleux (1977).  It captures quite nicely some of the sensations I have at night.

Offline James

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #46 on: November 20, 2016, 01:43:07 PM »
sanantonio, the artists I mentioned, I was referring to great quartets ... not necessarily cycles. The artists mentioned wrote at least 1 bonafide masterpiece for the medium - often far surpassing the vast majority of post-1950 attempts thus far. I was only referring to the Bartok as a complete, truly great cycle. Carter's cycle (or music overall) in no way, shape or form comes close to Bartok. Most would agree.
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Offline ritter

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #47 on: November 20, 2016, 01:44:49 PM »
I also like Carter quartets.  As individual piece, my preference goes to "Ainsi va la nuit", Henri Dutilleux (1977).  It captures quite nicely some of the sensations I have at night.
Another vote for the Carter quartets here...A formidable cycle! I must get to know the Dutilleux better, though.

And I urge anyone interested in late 20th century SQs to explore those of Cristóbal Halffter (7 out of the 8 have been recorded)...a very intersting and consistent cycle..
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Offline James

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #48 on: November 20, 2016, 01:48:52 PM »
I must get to know the Dutilleux better, though.

A great one, certainly more musical anything Carter did.
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ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #49 on: November 20, 2016, 02:21:56 PM »
Let's just say when it comes to certain things I have an unwavering position.
Lol so basically you're knowingly stubborn ;D

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #50 on: November 20, 2016, 02:22:51 PM »
A great one, certainly more musical anything Carter did.
I agree that it's a great one, but just very musically different to Carter. I think you just don't like Carter as much. :P

Offline ahinton

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #51 on: November 20, 2016, 02:35:35 PM »
If the already existing SQs of a yet to be determined end of a cycle aren't that good, any newly created SQs won't change that.
As Dorothy Parker once said in an entirely different context, "how can they [or rather you in this instance] tell?

Offline Ken B

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #52 on: November 20, 2016, 03:14:02 PM »
Yes - I have mixed feelings about the Simpson symphonies. For raw power, nothing really matches the 5th and 8th Symphonies. But to me the orchestration seems a bit unconvincing, and at times they're just a bit too noisy. The 9th and 10th are large pieces that have a sort of massive architectural appeal, but I don't like the Scherzo section of Symphony No. 9 and the second two movements of Symphony No. 10 are more interesting than the first two. 7 is better than 6, but a bit lacking in melodic interest. Of the earlier symphonies 1 and 2 sound a bit derivative to me and 3 and 4 feel like a composer starting to get a symphonic voice. The only unqualified masterpiece for me here is Symphony No. 11, which is a fantastic work worthy to stand alongside other greats of the Nordic symphonic tradition. Although it may be that they need more recordings and interpretation to plumb their depths.

The Quartets are harder to get into, but ultimately better (in my opinion). Its a pity that they're starting to get deleted.
I find them a mixed bag too, but I think 9 is one of the greatest symphonies. I agree about 10.

For this thread I have only heard the Carter cycle complete of those listed, but also nearly all the Simpson. I prefer Simpson but Carter is going to run away with this poll.

Incidentally I protest the definition. If we allow Shostakovich then he is my choice, by a mile.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 03:16:58 PM by Ken B »
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Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #53 on: November 20, 2016, 03:50:58 PM »
Shostakovich gets my vote. Quite simply one of the most astonishing achievements of chamber music in the 20th Century IMHO.
“It must be beautiful, or it wouldn't be worth the effort.” - Bohuslav Martinů

Offline Ken B

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #54 on: November 20, 2016, 07:53:22 PM »
Another composer to be mentioned is Heitor Villa-Lobos.  He wrote 6 from 1950 till his death.
I was going to ask about that, I don't know when they were all composed but they're a fine set of quartets. There are some good ones by Glass and Nyman too.
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Online Mandryka

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #55 on: November 20, 2016, 11:34:18 PM »
There is no great post-1950 cycle. Only isolated works .. so this thread is a non-starter.

I think you can see Lachenmann's three as a cycle, as charting a movement towards consonance and melody. Anyway, what I really want to say is that whether some music is cyclical depends partly on the imagination  of the listener, whether the listener can construct a convincing narrative which makes the pieces of music sound in some meaningful  way interrelated. I can do that for the four Brahms symphonies, for example ( a narrative based on the form of a romantic symphony) but not for the nine Beethoven symphonies.
« Last Edit: November 20, 2016, 11:53:54 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline James

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #56 on: November 21, 2016, 01:16:02 AM »
I don't know if most would agree with you.  I also don't know what criteria would be used to make a comparison of Bartok quartets and Carter's.  I consider both cycles great.

Most would agree, believe me. Carter's SQs don't say much to anyone. Bartok, Schoenberg, Berg, Webern, Shostakovich, Ravel etc. say a lot more and are far more successful.

Carter's dry formal and technical experiments certainly aren't 'great' .. with the 1st quartet, he takes 40 minutes to find his voice. In the 2nd he continues on what he established in the Cello Sonata, instruments oppose each other, the musical effect is, well not that musical. 12 years later we get the strenuous & technical 3rd .. he splits the ensemble into 2 contrasting duos this time, running against each other, like 2 pieces of different music playing simultaneously from beginning to end .. the result of which isn't that musical or great. The 4th & 5th continue along the lines of what they first 3 did  .. but with less than memorable results, they don't say much. As a cycle (and as a composer) nowhere near Bartok (the century's great cycle, his greatest achievement in fact).
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #57 on: November 22, 2016, 08:33:01 AM »
Now can we get back to discussing the thread topic, please?!

Do you know the Wuorinen quartets?
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #58 on: November 22, 2016, 08:40:29 AM »
Have those been collected in one place?  There're 3, right?

In one place, I do not think so.  Four quartets as yet (and two piano quintets).
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Offline Bogey

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Re: Best Post-1950 String Quartet Cycle
« Reply #59 on: November 22, 2016, 08:44:07 AM »
Philip Glass.




#2 up on this one....so no true cycle.  But the cycle is out there by The Smith Quartet.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2016, 08:52:21 AM by Bogey »
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