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Greatest string quartet cycles, past 100 years: Nominations open


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Showing 1-25 of 94 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 11, 2012, 5:46:31 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Listening to Bartok's 5th made me wonder if we've got the spirit for another game. Question: What are the greatest string quartet cycles of the last 100 years? The composer must have written four or more string quartets, the majority after 1912. You can use your reasonable definition of "string quartet" since work titles vary.

If your nomination is obscure (and I suspect some will be), you may want to add some words of introduction or YouTube references or whatever. So the rules:

- Nominate or second one or two cycles up to twice a day. That's two *total* per turn.
- Include the composer's name and number of quartets, like "Bartok (6)."
- Votes must be at least nine hours apart if on the same day.
- A cycle gets on the voting list with a nomination and one second; must be different people.
- Any nomination without a quartet count will be IGNORED.
- Voting list closes when it reaches 30 (or we run out of cycles).
- No lists of "suggestions," please!
- No proxies, advance nominations, or nomination banking.

I'm really curious how this will come out. So, let's begin.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 6:17:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2012, 6:19:52 PM PDT
David M. says:
Good sport:

Bartók (6)
Shostakovich (15)

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 6:29:38 PM PDT
I will second both Bartok and Shostakovich. After this I will refrain from making any other nominations as the winner must be one of these two.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 6:34:59 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2012, 6:36:08 PM PDT
KenOC says:
David, where did Shebalin go???

And Distant, I hope others will be nominated (and some words written about them). I'm looking forward to listening to samples, at least, of other composers' quartets.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 6:48:48 PM PDT
Looks like the rules are set deliberately so that Schoenberg's cycle would be excluded:)

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 6:51:32 PM PDT
K. G. says:
Nominate Heitor Villa-Lobos (17) and Vagn Holmboe (20). In my opinion, *as a set* Villa-Lobos's quartets are stronger than Shostakovich's (i.e., their quality is more consistent - by my reckoning only nos. 2 and 11 are sub-par, all the others are more or less the same quality, which is very high).

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 6:52:51 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Svetoslav, I won't object at all to Schoenberg. Flexibility rules! So please nominate him.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 6:54:50 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2012, 6:57:55 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Nominate:

Robert Simpson (15)
Bohuslav Martinù (8)

The opening of Simpson's 7th Quartet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1pP6RIpgcio

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 6:58:41 PM PDT
OK, I nominate Schnittke (4) and Schoenberg (4)

But still, I think it will be a much more interesting game if we go for individual quartets: the vast majority of prominent 20th century composers wrote less than 4 string quartets and some of these are quite impressive works...

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 7:09:54 PM PDT
KenOC says:
We've had games for single quartets, though not limited to the 20th century.

https://sites.google.com/site/kenocstuff/ama/best-works-by-genre

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 7:16:06 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Voting list:
Bela Bartók (6)
Dmitri Shostakovich (15)

Waiting list:
Alfred Schnittke (4)
Arnold Schoenberg (4)
Bohuslav Martinù (8)
Heitor Villa-Lobos (17)
Robert Simpson (15)
Vagn Holmboe (20)

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 7:16:32 PM PDT
Second Schoeney's 4 Quartets

Nominate Scelsi's 5

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 7:25:54 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2012, 7:26:57 PM PDT
hindemith(7), I know he'll go early since most of his were early, but it doesn't mean I don't like them

and Bloch's (5) for my second.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 7:39:49 PM PDT
Question: Does any single work for string quartet qualifies as a part of a cycle or it must be named "String quartet No. ..."?
I hope the former, the latter would be too restrictive...

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 11, 2012, 7:43:00 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 11, 2012, 9:45:38 PM PDT
KenOC says:
See the OP, first paragraph. Xenakis is a good example here.

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 8:46:34 PM PDT
KenOC says:
Catching up. Voting list:
Arnold Schoenberg (4)
Bela Bartók (6)
Dmitri Shostakovich (15)

Waiting list:
Alfred Schnittke (4)
Bohuslav Martinù (8)
Ernest Bloch (5)
Giacinto Scelsi (5)
Heitor Villa-Lobos (17)
Paul Hindemith (7)
Robert Simpson (15)
Vagn Holmboe (20)

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 9:11:20 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Apr 11, 2012, 9:14:14 PM PDT]

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 9:16:33 PM PDT
John Spinks says:
Some day I'll learn to read. So then, I second Vagn Holmboe (20) and Villa-Lobos (17).

Posted on Apr 11, 2012, 11:59:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012, 12:14:46 AM PDT
David M. says:
Nominate:
Mieczysław Weinberg (17)

Nominate, with fingers crossed:
Jón Leifs (3)

But if Leifs doesn't pass muster, nominate:
Vissarion Shebalin (9)

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 12:10:22 AM PDT
mojoworking says:
Second Martinù and Hindemith

But I can only see 2 possible winners of this (not among those I've seconded). And one of these 2 is more likely to win, unless the anti brigade vote against him if you catch my drift...

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 12:32:52 AM PDT
Nominate: Ben Johnston (10)

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 12:52:41 AM PDT
I'll go for Vagn Holmboe (20)

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 1:13:37 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 12, 2012, 3:39:40 AM PDT
Five Works for Quartet so far by Aulis Sallinen (5) - I'll nominate him, even though they take up one CD only.

Where are these numbers coming from, though? Has Martinu written a new one? Or are we counting his youthful little effort the three Horseman as a fully fledged quartet? Or can we count reconstructions too?

And Holmboe did 22 if we add in the reconstructed 21st and the collection of pieces called Swarm.

And you could argue the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion is effectively Bartok's Seventh Quartet.... pushing it now, I think.....

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 4:49:31 AM PDT
MF says:
Nominate: Szymanowski (2)
Second: Schnittke (4)

Posted on Apr 12, 2012, 5:01:47 AM PDT
Applesauce says:
Carter (The Second and Third received the Pulitzer Prize)
Bartók

If I could do three the third would be Shostakovitch.
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Discussion in:  Classical Music forum
Participants:  24
Total posts:  94
Initial post:  Apr 11, 2012
Latest post:  Apr 13, 2012

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