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Bartók: The 6 String Quartets

Takács Quartet , Béla Bartók , Edward Dusinberre , Andras Fejer , Karoly Schranz , Roger Tapping Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)

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MP3 Music, 23 Songs, 1998 $18.99  
Audio CD, 1998 --  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Disc 1:

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Bartók: String Quartet No.1, Sz. 40 (Op.7) - 1. Lento 9:15Album Only
listen  2. Bartók: String Quartet No.1, Sz. 40 (Op.7) - 2. Allegretto 8:06Album Only
listen  3. Bartók: String Quartet No.1, Sz. 40 (Op.7) - 3. Introduzione. Allegro - Allegro vivace10:55Album Only
listen  4. Bartók: String Quartet No.3, Sz. 85 - 1. Prima parte (Moderato) 4:51$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Bartók: String Quartet No.3, Sz. 85 - 2. Seconda parte (Allegro) 5:31$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Bartók: String Quartet No.3, Sz. 85 - 3. Ricapitolazione della prima parte (Moderato) 4:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 1. Allegro 7:29Album Only
listen  8. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 2. Adagio molto 6:04$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 3. Scherzo 4:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 4. Andante 4:49$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 5. Finale 6:54$0.99  Buy MP3 

Disc 2:

Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Bartók: String Quartet No.2, Sz. 67 (Op.17) - 1. Moderato 9:41Album Only
listen  2. Bartók: String Quartet No.2, Sz. 67 (Op.17) - 2. Allegro molto capriccioso 7:15Album Only
listen  3. Bartók: String Quartet No.2, Sz. 67 (Op.17) - 3. Lento 8:46Album Only
listen  4. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 1. Allegro 5:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 2. Prestissimo, con sordino 2:39$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 3. Non troppo lento 5:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 4. Allegretto pizzicato 2:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 5. Allegro molto 5:32$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Bartók: String Quartet No.6, Sz. 114 - 1. Mesto - Vivace 7:12Album Only
listen10. Bartók: String Quartet No.6, Sz. 114 - 2. Mesto - Marcia 7:45Album Only
listen11. Bartók: String Quartet No.6, Sz. 114 - 3. Mesto - Burletta (Moderato) 7:20Album Only
listen12. Bartók: String Quartet No.6, Sz. 114 - 4. Mesto 6:53$0.99  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Performer: Edward Dusinberre, Andras Fejer, Karoly Schranz, Roger Tapping
  • Composer: Béla Bartók
  • Audio CD (January 13, 1998)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Decca
  • ASIN: B0000042GU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #128,256 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Béla Bartók has emerged as one of the few modern masters who continue to be regularly performed and recorded. The six string quartets that span his career from 1908 to 1939 are generally regarded as this century's unsurpassed addition to the medium, and they provide an intimate entrée into the world of their withdrawn and enigmatic composer. With this cycle, the Takács Quartet confirms its reputation, against some very fierce competition, as possibly the most cogent, exciting exponent of this music today. They achieve an unusually successful synthesis of the quartets' polarizing components: lyrically haunting "night music," passages of grotesquely ironic humor, and, in the Sixth Quartet, an unrelentingly pervasive sense of desolation and farewell. In the process, the Takács players give visceral life to the extremities of technique Bartók's scores demand. These range from exaggerated glissandi to pizzicati made to snap violently against the fingerboard, at times producing a sound more akin to a percussion battery than a string quartet. The ensemble convincingly traverses Bartók's creative evolution, from the hothouse romanticism of the First Quartet to the Third's densely packed modernist fury and the palindrome structures of the Fourth and Fifth Quartets. Richly nuanced with local color, these accounts are among the best available on disc and will likely become standard-setters. --Thomas May

Product Description

No Description Available.
Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Release Date: 13-JAN-1998

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
88 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible performances in the Vegh Qt tradition... January 15, 2001
Format:Audio CD
For years I was a card-carrying devotee of the Emerson Quartet's Grammy Award-winning set of these quartets on Deutsche Grammophon. I still love the ESQ's performances: they're wonderfully rhythmic in the more rigid sense of the word, amazingly muscular and clear. The recording is likewise almost microscopically close -- there's no place to hide, and the ESQ has nothing to hide, the performances set a high-water mark of technical perfection. Then I picked up the Takacs Quartet's set. Whereas the ESQ readings come in the tradition of the Juilliard Quartet's groundbreaking set(s), with a very literal interpretative view, the Takacs take the more gypsy-informed approach, more in the vein of the celebrated Vegh Quartet. There is a sense of color and fantasy which I'd previously thought lacking in some of the Bartok quartets, at least in the performances I'd heard live and on CD. The Takacs bring such authority to these pieces, and such a sense of wonder and joy, too. The sound is exemplary, but not with the in-your-face closeness of the DG set. It's like listening to a live concert in a nicely (but not overly) reverberant hall. Whatever set(s) you may already own, or if you're looking for a fabulous introduction to these incredible masterpieces of the string quartet literature, buy this set now -- you will not be disappointed!
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64 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finally, they get it August 30, 2005
By Cade
Format:Audio CD
Bartok has been called many things, but one thing I wish he would be called more often is a mystic of music. In my over-educated opinion, that is what he was, and that dominated him as a composer, a pianist, an ethnomusicologist and a pedagogue. The problem is that many performers come to this music very naive or, worse, dismissive of this quality of Bartok's genius, and focus too heavily on technical apsects. The result is obvious: a failure to give a proper and authentic voice to the music.

I am sympathetic to the dilemma of any performer tackling these quartets - these are very demanding on a technical level alone. But this does not mean their beauty resides purely in that facet, nor does it excuse any performer for rendering these as a technical or academic exercise. Suffice to say, some performers just don't "get it," and thus ought not attempt these works, if they are not able to met the technical challenge they present and then transcend it in spirit to articulate their fuller beauty.

As a musician who's studied Bartok academically, I am very aware on an intellectual level of how these works relate to Bartok's studies in folk music, and I can easily pick out and analyze his inversions and sequences of folk motifs that populate these works. However, all too often this is something not easily *heard* by the average listener - a tragic irony, seeing much of Bartok's work is so rooted in folk music, which is possibly the most accessible of music idioms. Sadly, this is a mystic's lot: they experience something that is univerally accessible, yet in the process of articulating that experience, those first recieving the message miss the point, get destracted by superficial details, and obscure the beauty and truth of the mystic's message for everyone else.
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68 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Earth and fire, a powerful Bartok cycle! August 15, 2001
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
The Takacs Quartet has produced a powerful version of Bartok's string quartets, the great cycle of the early 20th century. They play in the gypsy style of the Vegh Quartet, rough, earthy, and fiery by turns. Heavier, thicker, and more passionate than many non-Hungarian interpretations, this London Records set is definitive, superbly recorded and mastered in 1996 with amazing separation and clarity of the four instruments, including the cello with a strong bottom. Superb, extensive liner notes describe each quartet and how it was written.

The 3rd, 4th and 5th quartets are sheer modernist genius. Bartok was inspired by hearing Berg's new "Lyric Suite" in 1927, and wrote his Third and Fourth quartets in response. The 1st and 2nd are less innovative -- the 1st is in the romantic tradition. The Fourth and Fifth both use palindrome structures, with a central movement and the others grouped around it in layers. The 6th is calm and tragic, written as Bartok prepared to leave Hungary for the USA.

String Quartet No. 1 (1907-09) 28'18
String Quartet No. 2 (1915-17) 25'47
String Quartet No. 3 (1927) 15'18
String Quartet No. 4 (1928) 22'24
String Quartet No. 5 (1934) 30'26
String Quartet No. 6 (1939) 29'15

Bartok was a great modernist, and very influential, but less so than his peers Stravinsky or Schoenberg because, as Milton Babbitt once complained, his innovations tended to be particular to each composition rather than a system like Schoenberg's 12-tone music. Bartok famously drew on Hungarian folk music, and his use of modal scales gives his music a uniquely odd quality in contrast to standard tonality, but he emphatically maintained that his music was tonal. The key was his mixing of modes, resulting in polytonality.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brav-issimo! July 4, 2000
Format:Audio CD
I have several recordings of Bartok's quartets and have attended several performances of them, and I have to say this is one of, if not, the best recording of the quartets. My opinion is also strongly influenced by my attendance at the performance of all 6 quartets by the Takacs String Quartet last fall; a performance I will not soon forget. Their intensity was incredibly palpable and, after comparing that performance to another performed by the Julliard String Quartet, the Takacs blow them out of the water! Not that I'm disregarding the enormous prowess of the Julliard quartet, but in both performance and recording, there was an aspect of genuine involvement found in the Takacs that lacked in the Julliard; the latter in recorded and live performance seemed almost aloof (perhaps from many years of performance, which is definitely commendable, as they were the first to perform the whole cycle here in the U.S.). The editorial review was right: this could very well become a standard with regard to Bartok's quartet recordings.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Enough Chances for Bartok
I have given Bartok enough chances. But he is a prime example of a modern Classical composer who "ain't got that swing". Great music is not a taste to be cultivated. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Jon L
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best
It's great music, probably the greatest chamber music of the first half of the 20th century. It's superbly performed, both technically and musically. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Richard Martin
5.0 out of 5 stars Simnply the best!
The Takacs is one of the best quartets recording today, and this recording of the Bartok quartets is amazingly beautiful Wow!
Published 13 months ago by nancyOR
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb musicianship
I know I'm going to find myself on the wrong side of Bartokians with this review. But I have to say what I have to say; and if you disagree that's my bad luck. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Jurgen Lawrenz
5.0 out of 5 stars Close to perfect
I am aware that there are no and might never be perfect recordings of Bartok's inspiring quartets. I have heard Vegh, Emersons, two versions of Juilliard, Tokyo, Keller, Hagen and... Read more
Published on April 7, 2011 by muxamed
5.0 out of 5 stars This one has the attitude
Of all the recordings I've heard of the six Bartok string quartets this set presents - in my opinion - the best example of how the composer would have wanted the music played. Read more
Published on March 20, 2010 by Robert M. Freedman
4.0 out of 5 stars angularity, precision, angst
One popular dictionary of classical music refers to Béla Bartók's 'driving, anxious rhythms, angular melodies, brackingly sharp dissonances, and folklike modal... Read more
Published on October 19, 2007 by David A. Baer
4.0 out of 5 stars go for Tokyo
Bartok is not a likely candidate for frequent recordings in the 21st century. Before it is too late you should acquire the Tokyo version on RCA (including the Janacek quartets). Read more
Published on August 27, 2006 by whoiskermit
5.0 out of 5 stars Spectacular
I bought this CD in preparation for the Takacs Quartet's performance of the Bartok cycle in January of 2005. Read more
Published on January 30, 2006 by mehndiartist
2.0 out of 5 stars Lacklustre insight ... airbrushed production.
A medium to large hall ambience smooths & smudges it all. An inappropriate production decision for these quartets. Read more
Published on November 1, 2005 by Stephen Barry
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