Author Topic: Bartok - The String Quartets  (Read 24686 times)

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jlaurson

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #20 on: October 21, 2011, 02:05:22 PM »

I'm assuming this is THE Hagen/DG recording. Anyone else have both the Hagens and Emersons?

Yes to both.


Somehow, they've somehow accumulated with me...


Takacs / Decca ***
Juilliard / Sony (1963) **
Vegh / Naive (1972 **(*)
Emerson / DG *.
Tokyo / DG **.
Keller / Warner **
Guarneri / RCA (1975/76) **
Belcea / EMI *(*)
Hagen (DG / Newton) *(*)



Still want to have: Parker (Zig Zag), Hungarian (DG), Párkányí (Praga), and lament that Ebene don't have a complete set.


« Last Edit: October 22, 2011, 12:25:11 AM by jlaurson »

kishnevi

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2011, 05:18:45 PM »
I have three:

Nowak (Philips)***
Belcea **+
Emerson*

The Emersons are just too dry and remote for me in these quartets.  Interestingly, it's the only Emerson recording I have which I don't like.

snyprrr

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2011, 09:17:15 AM »

Yep.  I prefer the Emerson across the board.  Not quite sure you mean when you say the Hagen are "thick."

I listened again to the Hagen 3. Yes, the is something magical about the Emerson recording, especially in this particular SQ: all strengths, no weaknesses (unlike their 1-2, IMO). The Hagen recording just doesn't have that ff-ff-fff-ff-ff (the sound Lechter made when he said 'fava beans & chianti') like the DG recording, and the Hagens do NOT have the exact amount of 'everything' like the Emersons have in this particular SQ.

The Emersons weren't 'in' at the library, but I still have the sound of that disc imprinted. Do the Takcas(?) come close (I used to have them, but forget)? Frankly, I wish the Emerson 3 would just show up on some GreatestHits, or something. Frankly, I don't really care about the rest, I just want the most perfect Third, and, it seems the Emerson are it. :'(

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2011, 09:25:34 AM »
I love how those threads always devolve into naming every single recording of a given composition ever made.

Here's a proposition to make things a bit more entertaining. Tokyo on DG is greater then any of the recordings mentioned in this thread. Let the butthurt ensue.

karlhenning

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #24 on: October 24, 2011, 09:49:43 AM »
I love how those threads always devolve into naming every single recording of a given composition ever made.

Yes, that is a genuine amusement in threads of this sort.

Robert

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #25 on: October 24, 2011, 09:59:29 AM »
I love how those threads always devolve into naming every single recording of a given composition ever made.

Here's a proposition to make things a bit more entertaining. Tokyo on DG is greater then any of the recordings mentioned in this thread. Let the butthurt ensue.

In order to make a statement like that, I assume you have heard every recording of his quartets.....

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #26 on: October 24, 2011, 11:43:18 AM »
Yes, that is a genuine amusement in threads of this sort.

It is amusing considering the purpose of this type of threads. To seek a recommendation for a good, or even best recording of a given composition. When every recording under the sun is mentioned, such a request ceases to have any meaning.

karlhenning

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #27 on: October 24, 2011, 11:46:14 AM »
Filtration becomes the key.

Robert

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #28 on: October 24, 2011, 11:50:33 AM »
It is amusing considering the purpose of this type of threads. To seek a recommendation for a good, or even best recording of a given composition. When every recording under the sun is mentioned, such a request ceases to have any meaning.

now theres a profound statement

snyprrr

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #29 on: October 24, 2011, 07:18:55 PM »
It is amusing considering the purpose of this type of threads. To seek a recommendation for a good, or even best recording of a given composition. When every recording under the sun is mentioned, such a request ceases to have any meaning.

Some, on Amazon for instance, are very helpful.

Whoever it was on the last page who immediately answered my query between the Hagen and Emerson... that's good.


I do have to say, that on a Thread about something as unique and towering as these Bartok SQs, we're not getting very much super-insightful commentary. well, it could be worse...

Frankly, I really don't want to have to get a bunch of sets. I love it when I hear authoritatively to 'yes, get this', or, 'no, stay away'. MOST of the time I rely on everyone else to pique my interest in... just about anything.

I am frustrated here, though... the Emerson?... really??...  what exactly IS the bottom line on No.3 between the Emerson and the Tackas?

ack!!

jlaurson

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #30 on: October 25, 2011, 03:02:28 AM »
Some, on Amazon for instance, are very helpful.

Whoever it was on the last page who immediately answered my query between the Hagen and Emerson... that's good.


I do have to say, that on a Thread about something as unique and towering as these Bartok SQs, we're not getting very much super-insightful commentary. well, it could be worse...

Frankly, I really don't want to have to get a bunch of sets. I love it when I hear authoritatively to 'yes, get this', or, 'no, stay away'. MOST of the time I rely on everyone else to pique my interest in... just about anything.

I am frustrated here, though... the Emerson?... really??...  what exactly IS the bottom line on No.3 between the Emerson and the Tackas?

ack!!

Fine, here we go:

Forget Emerson -- Takács (Decca) [spelling] all the way!.

snyprrr

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #31 on: October 25, 2011, 05:48:31 AM »
Fine, here we go:

Forget Emerson -- Takács (Decca) [spelling] all the way!.

ALL the way?? :o :o :o gulp


 ;D :D :D


Alright, let me wait for a cheap copy to show up! ::) ;D

karlhenning

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #32 on: October 25, 2011, 05:51:36 AM »
Forget Emerson

Oh, but Jens is so utterly wrong there.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #33 on: October 25, 2011, 06:05:37 AM »
Oh, but Jens is so utterly wrong there.
Not in my opinion.

karlhenning

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #34 on: October 25, 2011, 06:08:44 AM »
Well, if we didn't have opinions, we shouldn't need this forum, of course.

jlaurson

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #35 on: October 25, 2011, 06:10:46 AM »
Oh, but Jens is so utterly wrong there.

psssssssssht! he doesn't want nuance! he wants commands.

karlhenning

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #36 on: October 25, 2011, 06:11:40 AM »
Something in that, to be sure.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #37 on: October 25, 2011, 06:19:23 PM »
Oh, but Jens is so utterly wrong there.

Yep. More than one way to skin a cat, especially in this repertoire.


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #38 on: June 09, 2013, 10:31:45 AM »

Some months ago, I got the set with the old Fine Arts Quartet, because they are my favorite string quartet, and I have been listening to it now and then to see if I can get into them. They even have a discussion of the first quartet by the members.

Any opinions on this set? I noticed a copy in my local 2ndhand store.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

Offline amw

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Re: Bartok - The String Quartets
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2014, 05:47:04 PM »
Regarding questions about the Bartok quartets and the most accessible performances, I've been listening to these a lot over the past year or so (along with Beethoven, Schubert, and Shostakovich string quartets).  Since most of the well-known recordings (especially for Bartok) are on the Beats Music streaming service, I've been able to listen to most of them.  If we were to simplify (and I acknowledge the danger here) and position them on a scale from "folksy/accessible" at one end to "spikily modernist" on the other, I would arrange the cycles I've heard as such: Takacs (II), Hungarian, Alexander, Tokyo (DG), Novak, Emerson, Julliard ('60s), Belcea.  I frankly enjoy all of them, but the ones I have enjoyed the least are the ones at each end--the Takacs because I feel that their vigorous, muscular reading leaves out too much of the weirdness I enjoy in these works, and the Belcea because I find their emphasis on speed and razor-sharp detail becomes somewhat tiresome after a while.  Nevertheless, these are still wonderful performances that anyone who might enjoy either extreme is sure to love.

My favorites at this point are the Hungarian and Novak Quartets--the former combines some of the almost rustic warmth of the Takacs but feels a bit more relaxed and leaves in far more of the modernist edges, while the latter provides the most introspective, at times almost fragile, reading, somewhat melancholy but with an almost astringent seriousness that reminds me a bit of the Vegh Quartet in Beethoven (and I have unfortunately not yet heard the Vegh Quartet cycle in Bartok). 

The Tokyo, Emerson, and Julliard sets feel somewhat similar to one another in interpretation, which is on the coolly detailed modernist side, and I enjoy them all, though I'd probably choose the Emersons over the other two (but just barely) if pressed.  Alexander is a bit hard to describe--like many of their interpretations, they are a bit slower than most in tempo, very careful and nuanced (and in amazing sound), but perhaps a bit too "cautious" in feel for this particular music. 

I'm not a musician, and obviously these are just impressions rather than careful analyses, but I hope it helps those who might be trying to decide which Bartok quartet cycle would best fit their taste.  By the way, Mandryka's post last night about the Tatrai 5th quartet inspired me to sample that--I could only hear their earlier, mono version, but I absolutely loved it.  It was, by far, the most unabashedly beautiful performance I have ever heard of this quartet (for which the term "beautiful" might not normally be the first term to come to mind even among its devotees).  Unfortunately, the stereo set he recommends appears to be tragically out of print (much like the Vegh set).  :(
Good analysis.

I have heard Tátrai, Vegh (II) and Mikrokosmos, as they're all on Naxos Music Library, as well as Takacs I & II, Hagen, Juilliard '63, Belcea, and individual discs from Ebène and Arcanto. I've also probably heard Emerson before though I don't remember it very well.

My favourite without a doubt is Juilliard '63. It's old, OOP and interpretively extreme, so of course I like it. I was raised on Takacs II, probably the best MOR "reference" set everything else gets compared to—driven and powerful with heaps of authentic Hungarian feeling. The Hagen Quartet, as usual, out-Belceas Belcea in terms of spiky modernism. Takacs I on the other hand is on the accessible/folksy/beautiful side of things, along with Tátrai (whichever version comes with the complete Bartók on Hungaroton) and Vegh (Naïve), which can described as "gritty without modernism". Mikrokosmos, also on Hungaroton, is another group whose interpretations are steeped in Magyarisms and a choice that doesn't seem to be talked about much. I'll have to re-listen to them at some point.

For the single discs, Ebène has that intimate, fragile sound you describe above & lovely playing, definitely something to hope for a follow-up on, whereas the Arcanto is an ensemble made up of Antje Weithaas, Daniel Sepec, Tabea Zimmermann and Jean-Guihen Queyras. Draw your own conclusions.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2014, 05:51:25 PM by amw »