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Bela Bartok: The 6 String Quartets - Emerson String Quartet

Bela Bartok , Eugene Drucker , Lawrence Dutton , David Finckel , Philip Setzer , Emerson String Quartet Audio CD
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)

Price: $24.91 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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MP3 Music, 23 Songs, 1988 $18.99  
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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:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Bartók: String Quartet No.1, Sz. 40 (Op.7) - 1. Lento 9:16$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Bartók: String Quartet No.1, Sz. 40 (Op.7) - 2. Allegretto 8:11$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Bartók: String Quartet No.1, Sz. 40 (Op.7) - 3. Introduzione. Allegro - Allegro vivace11:28Album Only
listen  4. Bartók: String Quartet No.3, Sz. 85 - 1. Prima parte (Moderato) 4:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Bartók: String Quartet No.3, Sz. 85 - 2. Seconda parte. Allegro - attacca: Ricapitulazione della prima parte. Moderato 5:09$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Bartók: String Quartet No.3, Sz. 85 - 3. Coda. Allegro molto 4:24$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 1. Allegro 7:20$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 2. Adagio molto 5:52$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 3. Scherzo. Alla bulgarese 4:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 4. Andante 4:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Bartók: String Quartet No.5, Sz. 102 - 5. Finale. Allegro vivace 6:42$0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Bartók: String Quartet No.2, Sz. 67 (Op.17) - 1. Moderato10:11Album Only
listen  2. Bartók: String Quartet No.2, Sz. 67 (Op.17) - 2. Allegro molto capriccioso 7:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Bartók: String Quartet No.2, Sz. 67 (Op.17) - 3. Lento 9:18$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 1. Allegro 5:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 2. Prestissimo, con sordino 2:47$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 3. Non troppo lento 5:12$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 4. Allegretto pizzicato 2:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Bartók: String Quartet No.4, Sz. 91 - 5. Allegro molto 5:05$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Bartók: String Quartet No.6, Sz. 114 - 1. Mesto - Vivace 7:06$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Bartók: String Quartet No.6, Sz. 114 - 2. Mesto - Marcia 7:27$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Bartók: String Quartet No.6, Sz. 114 - 3. Mesto - Burletta (Moderato) 6:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Bartók: String Quartet No.6, Sz. 114 - 4. Mesto 6:21$0.99  Buy MP3 


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Bela Bartok: The 6 String Quartets - Emerson String Quartet + Shostakovich: The String Quartets + Beethoven: the String Quartets
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Product Details

  • Performer: Bela Bartok, Eugene Drucker, Lawrence Dutton, David Finckel, Philip Setzer, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B000001G9O
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,669 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Amazon.com

The six quartets of Bartók have been well represented on record, far better than the six of Schoenberg or the fifteen of Shostakovich. The choice on Compact Disc, however, is an easy one, for the Emerson Quartet not only plays the music better than any other ensemble, but gets all six essays onto two discs. Making roses out of what must seem more like a collection of thistles to most others who attempt to play the set, the Emerson players show the kind of ensemble polish that caused one European critic to complain, "too smooth.... I like my Bartók rougher." But awkwardness and rhythmic uncertainty, which have made many a lesser group sound rough in this music, should not be confused with expressive edge, which the Emersons bring to the music in full measure. Their readings are extraordinarily revealing, high-intensity, not at all for the faint of heart. With the odd-numbered quartets on one disc and the even on the other, each CD is a "microcosmos" of the whole set. The sound quality is excellent throughout. --Ted Libbey

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
60 of 63 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD
Bela Bartók was a very great composer and virtuoso pianist who wrote some of the most important music of the twentieth century. Born in Transylvania, Hungary in 1881, he received his first music lessons from his mother who was herself a gifted pianist. He began performing in public at an early age, and received a solid musical education. At eighteen he enrolled at the Royal Academy of Music in Budapest. There he continued his studies in piano and composition. His early compositional style was modeled on Brahms (a great choice). His interests expanded and he not only began using folk elements of Hungary, but wanted to explore musical elements from his home in Transylvania, as well as Romanian and Slavonic materials.

Bartók became friends with Zoltan Kodály and they toured around the region collecting folk songs that became important compositional resources for both of them. The features of asymmetric rhythms, polytonality, and piercing dissonances in their music are all rooted in these folk traditions. However, Bartók was also influenced by the music of the Impressionists and especially by Debussy. He came to America in 1940 and died from leukemia in 1945. All his life he had financial difficulties and was quite bitter at his inability to support his family. His fame has grown since his death and his music continues to be performed and appreciated. These six quartets are not only important pieces in the composer's catalog of works, but in the entire literature of the string quartet.
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31 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dive in November 27, 1999
By Jock
Format:Audio CD
If you are new to Bartok or even twentieth century chamber works, then this recording is fine place to start. The Emerson Quartet built their lofty reputation through the status of this recording, and their series of spectacular concerts where they play the quartets, one to six in one night.
These quartets can sound tough and uncompromising to tender ears but once you gently get to know them i.e. while studying or reading, your mind almost unconsciously unlocks the music and you soon are struck by the realisation that this is amongst the most beautiful, moving and exciting music you may ever hear.
These quartets span Bartok's entire career and are quite occupy quite different sound worlds. The first is early, a good acclimatiser but only really a foothill, the second is gentle and humane, troubled and reflective, a deeply emotional work, the third: short, intense, challenging, but life-affirmingly rhythmic with a wild joyous close, then the grand showpiece, the fourth contains some of the most astonishing and exhilarating sounds you will hear some from a quartet. I still am cool towards the fifth and sixth, dunno they just don't click, indeed not everyone will take to shine to all or any of this music. The trick is to not sit sternly into front of the speakers, waiting on revelation, just give the music a chance to come to you.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Astounding Brilliance and Virtuousity January 4, 2004
Format:Audio CD
The six quartets penned by the original and brilliant Béla Bartók represent the pinnacle of musical, particullarly modern, compostion in music. I will try to list a few of the many reasons these compostions are masterpieces. First of all, Bartók demonstrated the limits of what is and is not tonality. One must admire the amazing truce Bartók seemed to make with the tonal and atonal techniques. Second of all, the imagination and originality shown by the various demands on the performer to create some of the most unusual sounds from the string instruments, such as the "Bartók pizzacato" employed the most in the fourth movement of the fourth quartet, which calls on the performer to pluck a string so hard that it hits the fingerboard, was unprecedented by any composer for any instruments. Finally, and possibly most importantly, these quartets contain the power to inflict any emotion upon ther listener whether it is exhilartion to depression while encompassing the use of the techniques listed above. These quartets can be very violent and furious, but also can contain an original form of serenity.

As for the Emerson String Quartet's rendition of these quartets, I uphold as much admiration one can have for the performer without taking away from the actual composer's credit. The quartet always maintains the correct amount of balence that is a necessity for the four instruments. The Emerson also is able to always hit each percussive and dissonant chord simultainiously with a new level of perfection and percision. The tempi chosen for the various movements is very agreeable and never sounds rushed or dragged. This is a very crisp recording that has no background interference.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have in any classical music library! July 5, 2001
Format:Audio CD
Bartok's 6 string quartets are some of the best quartets ever written. Bartok's unique folk-music-like style comes out best in his works for strings. The works have a very rustic and gypsy-like sound, yet Bartok constructed them to perfection. His unique use of tonality is demonstrated best in these quartets in which all instruments jump through 12 tones and still keep a tonal center. Aaron Copland, in his book "What To Listen For In Music", suggests these quartets by the Emerson Quartet as an excellent place to start in exploring the music of Bela Bartok. If one is looking for a good recording to bring them into the appreciation of 20th century and contemporary music, these quartets are the place to start. Furthermore, Emerson does such a FABULOUS job. The quartet actually performed the whole cycle of quartets in a concert. Any group of musicians who can keep an audience entertained with over 2 hours of very complex and enigmatic music deserves recognition. So recognize Emerson and BUY THIS RECORDING!!!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Like nothing else
I prefer the music on the second disk, but the entire work should be given a listen! Heard/saw this performed recently at the University of Iowa, which prompted me to make this... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Elizabeth Cummings
5.0 out of 5 stars A Terrific Recording
One of the great American musical groups at the top of their game. The six Bartok Quartets are easily some of the most adventurous pieces of music of the 20th Century, and the... Read more
Published 11 months ago by J. P. Boylan
5.0 out of 5 stars Bela Bartok
Interesting music, good group, little more challenging than most music. The 1st quartet would make the perfect soundtrack for the silent movie Nosferatu-which also is/was about... Read more
Published 11 months ago by mike frain
5.0 out of 5 stars emerson quartet and bartok are an amazing combination!
I have only listened to the 4th quartet so far but it is some of the most amazing chamber music I have every heard.
Period.
Published 19 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars The Emerson Bartok cycle 25 years on
The 25th anniversary of the Emerson Quartet's famous 1988 cycle of the six Bela Bartok quartets served as a good opportunity for me to re-visit the set in depth and compare it to... Read more
Published 21 months ago by jt52
5.0 out of 5 stars Bela Bartok: The 6 String Quartets - Emerson String Quartet
Bela Bartok: The 6 String Quartets - Emerson String Quartet is a 1988 Polydor recording starring the Emerson String Quartet. Read more
Published on March 8, 2012 by Bjorn Viberg
5.0 out of 5 stars Rich, resounding, thought provoking string quartets ~
I will be the first to admit that I did not appreciate Bartok's style of music for a long time. I happened upon this CD at resale book store for $3 and took a chance. Read more
Published on September 22, 2011 by Christopher Barrett
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb performance reissued at a lower price!
This set has been reissued as Bartók: 6 String Quartets for much less. Here is what I said about the budget-line reissue. Read more
Published on January 14, 2011 by Y.P.
5.0 out of 5 stars ISLAND GEAR!
I have listened to no less than eight different Bartok cycles from all of the top, and not so much, ensembles over the years. Read more
Published on December 19, 2010 by Pat
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Collection at a Great Price
While others have complained about the "too-perfect" playing of the Emerson Quartet, I would point out that Bartok - and is quartets in particular - are not easy music. Read more
Published on June 12, 2009 by Kyle G.
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