It’s a string quartet marathon!

Today, Dr. Suter sent me on an adventure to browse the string quartet collection. The plan is to listen to/look over numerous quartets until the point where I’m so filled with ideas that I can’t bear not to write. (This is the same quartet that I wrote for the Hugo Wolf Quartet to play, but I’ve been wanting to make it much, much longer. I envision it to be a multi-movement work, probably 15 minutes long or so.) After about two hours of browsing through the entire M452 shelf, I picked up over twenty quartets. It seems pretty insane, but I just couldn’t seem to narrow them down yet without a good listen. Therefore, I picked out pieces that I’ve never heard before (or so I think), and the plan is to listen one or two daily for about a month or so, and then I will select a few to study in more depth. The main challenge, however, is to find recordings for these pieces in the first place.

The pieces below are in alphabetical order by last name (last names are written first). Dates signify the year the piece was completed.

  • Barber, Samuel, Serenade for String Quartet (or String Orchestra) (1928)
  • Bacewicz, Grażyna, Quartetto per 4 violoncelli (1964)
  • Berio, Luciano, Sincronie (1964)
  • Berg, Alberg, String Quartet Op. 3 (1910)
  • Bloch, Ernest, In the Mountains (Haute Savoie): Two Sketches for String Quartet (1925)
  • Carter, Elliot, String Quartet No. 1 (1951)
  • Casella, Fredo, Concerto for Two Violins, Viola, and Violoncello, (1924)
  • Davies, Peter Maxwell, Naxos Quartet No. 2 (2003)
  • Elston, Arnold, String Quartet (1961)
  • Husa, Karel, String Quartet No. 3 (1968)
  • Lutosławski, Witold, String Quartet (1964)
  • Martinů, Bohusla, String Quartet No. 6 (1946)
  • Penderecki, Krzystof, Quartetto Per Archi (1960)
  • Pierce, Alexandra, Four Movements for String Quartet (1987)
  • Rochberg, George, String Quartet No. 3 (1972)
  • Schoenberg, Arnold, String Quartet No. 1 , Op. 7 (1905)
  • Schoenberg, Arnold, String Quartet No. 2 , Op. 10 (1908, rev. 1921)
  • Schumann, Robert, Streichquartett No. 1, Op. 41 No. 1 (1842)
  • Stravinsky, Igor, Three Pieces for String Quartet,  (1914)
  • Tower, Joan, In Memory (for String Quartet), (2001)
  • Webern, Anton, Five Pieces for String Quartet,  Op. 5 (1909)
  • Webern, Anton, Sechs Bagatellen für Streichquartett, Op. 9 (1913)

Quite ambitious I know, but we shall see. One of these days I’d like to get a hold of John’s Book of Alleged Dances, by John Adams, which is pretty awesome. I’m sure that would make a great score study too.

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