String Quartets
November 9, 2016 2:24 AM   Subscribe

Oppressed by weltschmerz in the light of recent events? Staring out at leaden November skies? Then why not listen to a string quartet? So much fine music has been written for the enduring and flexible line-up of 2 violins, viola & cello, much of it anguished, sombre & tormented! One might begin near the beginning in the relatively cheerful & sunlit world of Joseph Haydn’s Op. 20 quartets (1772): here’s no. 4 from that set. A tip-of-the-iceberg selection of others…

String quartets previously on MetaFilter.
See also this lovely post yesterday. And recent events.
posted by misteraitch (34 comments total) 134 users marked this as a favorite
Thank you!
posted by shibori at 2:33 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Weltschmerz doesn't come close to capturing what I'm feeling at the moment.

But thanks for this.
posted by sutt at 2:40 AM on November 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Thank you.
posted by wintersonata9 at 2:53 AM on November 9, 2016

Thank you misteraitch.
posted by ocular shenanigans at 3:10 AM on November 9, 2016

How can I easily and quickly turn this into a playlist?
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 4:09 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thanks for leaving out Mahler. Seriously.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:15 AM on November 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

As long as you are not playing Saint-Saens or Elgar.
posted by kadmilos at 4:18 AM on November 9, 2016

It takes so little to turn the waterfalls back on. And I'm not even on the same continent as you poor US MeFites.
posted by hat_eater at 4:49 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lovely post, this will be some great listening.
posted by sektah at 4:55 AM on November 9, 2016

Anguished is a good word for how I'm feeling. Thank you for providing some helpful listening.
posted by mightshould at 5:00 AM on November 9, 2016 [1 favorite]

I_Love_Bananas—I made a YouTube playlist of all but the last of the pieces above (which is on Vimeo): Quartets for the morning after.

From Bklyn—you should really thank Mahler for not having written any string quartets!

There were quartets I wanted to include, but couldn’t find (the Boccherini quartet G213 for example), and there’ll be others I’m sure to have forgotten: please suggest your own favourites!
posted by misteraitch at 5:10 AM on November 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

I'm sure a lot of us do feel like Haydn.
posted by Flashman at 5:21 AM on November 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Thank you.
posted by life moves pretty fast at 5:32 AM on November 9, 2016

IF he had written any I imagine that Mahler would somehow manage to cram 35 instruments into a string quartet.
posted by koolkat at 5:53 AM on November 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

Thanks for the quartet festival, misteraitch! Looking forward to hearing. If I could add a few personal favorites:

Faure's string quartet: m1 m2 m3

Morton Feldman, String quartet no. 2

A movement from Glazunov no. 3

Glazunov's Five Novelettes:
Alla spagnuola Orientale Interludium in modo antico* Valse All'ungherese
* was the anthem of my youth quartet

Delius string quartet

Brahms Quartet no. 1: m1 m2 m3 m4

a wildcard?
The quartet attributed to Benjamin Franklin
posted by ravelite at 6:35 AM on November 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

If you're feeling apocalyptic now that the eschaton has been immanentized, Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time is lovely music. (Not a string quartet; an odd collection of piano, clarinet, violin, and a cello with three strings. That's what they had in the prisoner of war camp Messiaen composed it in.)
posted by Nelson at 7:56 AM on November 9, 2016 [12 favorites]

Thank you.
posted by Lyme Drop at 8:19 AM on November 9, 2016

The orchestra plays on as the Titanic sinks.
posted by eye of newt at 8:36 AM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

Even though it's a hymn of thanksgiving, Beethoven's Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart from his Quartet Op. 132 might offer some needed hopeful beauty.
posted by straight at 8:40 AM on November 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Can't bring myself to link to Dvorak's "American" Quartet (#12) even though it's beautiful and I love it.
posted by straight at 8:42 AM on November 9, 2016 [7 favorites]

Samuel Barber's String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11 is the quartet that his famous Adagio for Strings comes from.

Heitor Villa-Lobos has a lot of beautiful string quartets. I particularly like #15.

And here's Ralph Vaughan Williams's String Quartet No. 1 in G Minor.

And while misteraitch linked my favorite Schubert quartet ("Death and the Maiden"), #15 is also wonderful.
posted by straight at 9:15 AM on November 9, 2016 [6 favorites]

Thanks for this post.

Not quite on topic I love bass viols, especially baroque music for bass viols, with the works of John Jenkins (Wikipedia) striking my fancy. Examples: Divisions for two basses in C maj., (c.1675?), Rose Consort of Viols (audio only) and L'Achéron performing Fantasia a 6 in c (live in Eglise St-Didier, Rasteau (Provence, France) le 3 novembre 2012).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:34 AM on November 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Grażyna Bacewicz should be better known. Here are her complete string quartets (link points to the beginning of No. 5, a personal favorite of mine).
posted by aws17576 at 9:58 AM on November 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Thank you Misteraitch. This is what I needed for this afternoon.
posted by noneuclidean at 10:51 AM on November 9, 2016 [2 favorites]

I can recommend three albums of lovely music from and inspired by Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series of seafaring novels, in which the two protagonists often play together at the end of a long day of sailing, fighting and surgeoning. Locatelli, Boccherini, Corelli, Haydn and even some "Old Bach." (The novels themselves are consummate escapism in their own right.)

Musical Evenings with the Captain

Musical Evenings With the Captain Vol. II

Musical Evenings in the Captain's Cabin

The first two are also on Spotify.
posted by stargell at 11:50 AM on November 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Pärt's Fratres, by Kronos Quartet.
posted by Guy Smiley at 12:00 PM on November 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Janáček's No. 1 is great, but No. 2 "Intimate Letters" is an epiphany. I've still never really heard anything else like it.
posted by invitapriore at 12:00 PM on November 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

Glass's SQ #2
Barber's SQ (Op. 11) - second movement is the famous adagio often played alone
John Adams SQ #2
Ned Rorem SQ #4 (link is to first movement)
Peteris Vasks SQ #3
posted by aught at 12:27 PM on November 9, 2016 [3 favorites]

There are at least some percussion also involved, but I do love the Kronos Quartet's album "Pieces of Africa"
posted by that girl at 1:42 PM on November 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Great playlist, great suggestions! I'd like to mention Ruth Crawford Seeger's brilliant String Quartet 1931, a stunningly pioneering work. Its first movement is a dramatic introduction, its second almost a ballet of fugal figures. Then its third movement is a swirling sound sculpture that expands and expands until it explodes and deflates. In its fourth movement, the second violin attempts a dialogue with the other three instruments but is forced to withdraw, a musical metaphor for the way women's voices are treated in society.
posted by Fritz Langwedge at 4:02 PM on November 9, 2016 [5 favorites]

Excellent. I love the Schnittke quartets so much (though 2 is my favorite).

Some of my favorites I can't help but add:

Peter Sculthorpe, Quartet 11 (god I love this piece).
Beethoven, Grosse Fuge
Webern String Quartet
John Adams, John's Book of Alleged Dances
Ken Benshoof, Music for Traveling
Bryce Dessner (of The National fame), Aheym
Lee Hyla, String Quartet No 3
Morton Feldman, String Quartet 2
George Crumb, Black Angels

And of course - Lutoslawski's String Quartet 2
posted by Lutoslawski at 6:36 PM on November 9, 2016 [4 favorites]

Just wanted to say I've had this page open and playing since the 9th. Thanks.
posted by gwint at 8:11 AM on November 11, 2016

(Folks reading this thread might be able to help with my AskMeFi question about identifying a theme I think might come from one of Haydn's string quartets.)
posted by straight at 9:58 AM on November 11, 2016

« Older Election Night II: Load Balancing Boogaloo   |   "a staggering work of talent and attention to... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments