Bartok The Six String Quartets 180g 3LP Box Set
High Quality Pure Analogue 180g Virgin Vinyl Triple LP Box Set!
Audiophile Mastering By Kevin Gray From Original Master Tapes!
Throughout the ages, the string quartet with its usual forces has always been
regarded as the crowning discipline among all forms of composition. Poetically
described by Carl Maria von Weber as the "nude of musical art" and by Goethe as
a "cultured conversation among equals", the genre reflects the creative art of
important composers from the Viennese Classicism right up to modern times.
Bartók's six String Quartets, written over the span of roughly 30 years,
demonstrate his development as a composer in the purest form. "In the Quartets,"
stated Bartók, "I condense to the extreme." In the very first quartet, which is
orientated on traditional formal structures, Bartók travels down his own path by
lending different weight to the various formal sections, rejecting repeats, and
joining the movements together by means of bridging passages.
The second quartet is exemplary for its intentional distance from the Romantic
in favor of a composition based on simple folksongs, in which Bartók attempts to
grasp the folk sound in his compositional structures, whereby he never quite
disregards the tonal rules but certainly begins to free himself from them.
The new richness in the third quartet with regard to counterpoint, melody and
harmony as well as tone, is described by the sociologist and composer Theodor W.
Adorno – with allusion to the musical creativity of the Hungarian peasants – as
a "tent camp of improvisation", which ventures here and there towards the
avant-garde. As a contrast, the fourth quartet is almost relaxed in tone, the
form and compositional technique is simple and uncomplicated in expression
(Ludwig Finscher). For the first time, Bartók employs his idea of an 'arch'
structure in which Hungarian folklore and the classical-romantic chamber-music
forms are amalgamated. Like the fourth, the fifth quartet is also written in
arch form, but in contrast to the fourth it is more cheerful and transparent.
The sixth and final quartet was the last piece that Bartók wrote in Hungary
before emigrating to the United States of America. All four movements have a
mesto introduction, which induce a melancholy mood and seem to reflect the
composer’s personal circumstances.
The Juilliard Quartet was the very first American ensemble to record the six
quartets in roughly 1950, and they took up the challenge to record the works
once again in the mid-1960s, in order to give each of the unique works a
conclusive performance. With firm bowing, and a dry and direct tone, the
musicians dissect the substantial power of these works to reflect all the
different aspects of the manuscripts.
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The Juilliard String Quartet
Bela Bartok (1881-1945)
String Quartet Nos. 1 - 6
String Quartet No. 1
1. I – Lento
2. II – Allegretto
3. III – Introduzione: Allegro; Allegro Vivace
String Quartet No. 2
1. I – Moderato
2. II – Allegro Molto Capriccioso
3. III – Lento
String Quartet No. 3
1. Prima Parte: Moderato
2. Seconda Parte: Allegro
3. Recapitulazione Della Prima Parte: Moderato
4. Coda: Allegro Molto
String Quartet No. 4
1. I – Allegro
2. II – Prestissimo, Con Sordino
3. III – Non Troppo Lento
4. IV – Allegretto Pizzicato
5. V – Allegro Molto
String Quartet No. 5
1. I – Allegro
2. II – Adagio Molto
3. III – Scherzo: Alla Bulgarese
4. IV – Andante
5. V – Finale: Allegro Vivace
String Quartet No. 6
1. I – Mesto; Vivace
2. II – Mesto; Marcia
3. III – Mesto: Burletta: Moderato
4. IV – Mesto
Recorded between May and September 1963 at Columbia Recording Studios, New York.