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Tag: Takacs Quartet

Saturday, October 13th

Last night, at the University of Chicago (Mandel Hall), they opened with this piece, which was followed by Shostakovich (String Quartet No. 4 in D Major), Brahms (String Quartet in A Minor) and, in an encore, Webern (Langsamer Satz). One-word review: spellbinding.

Joseph Haydn (1732-1809), String Quartet in D Major, Op. 20, No. 4 (excerpt); Takács Quartet, live, New York, 2018

 

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lagniappe

random sights

this morning, Oak Park, Ill.

Thursday, October 11th

this weekend in Chicago

They’re also playing at the University of Chicago—tomorrow night.

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), String Quartet in F major (1903), 1st Mvt.
Takács Quartet, live, New York, 2017

 

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lagniappe

random sights

other day, Chicago (Columbus Park)

Tuesday, April 4th

Sometimes I just want to be swept away.

Maurice Ravel (1875-1937), String Quartet in F major (1903), 1st Mvt.
Takács Quartet, live, New York, 2017

 

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lagniappe

reading table

cloud becomes a mountain
becomes
a cloud

—Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), translated from Japanese by David G. Lanoue

Thursday, October 23rd

never enough

Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), String Quartet No. 14 (Op. 131, C-sharp minor; 1826); Takács Quartet, live


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lagniappe

musical thoughts

Opus 131 . . . is routinely described as Beethoven’s greatest achievement, even as the greatest work ever written. Stravinsky called it ‘perfect, inevitable, inalterable.’ It is a cosmic stream of consciousness in seven sharply contrasted movements, its free-associating structure giving the impression, in the best performances, of a collective improvisation. At the same time, it is underpinned by a developmental logic that surpasses in obsessiveness anything that came before. The first four notes of the otherworldly fugue with which the piece begins undergo continual permutations, some obvious and some subtle to the point of being conspiratorial. Whereas the Fifth Symphony hammers at its four-note motto in ways that any child can perceive, Opus 131 requires a lifetime of contemplation. (Schubert asked to hear it a few days before he died.)

—Alex Ross, “Deus Ex Musica,” New Yorker, 10/20/14

*****

lagniappe

art beat: yesterday at the Art Institute of Chicago

Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), The Poet’s Garden, 1888

1863_1595758

Thursday, 11/1/12

Forget harps—my heaven’s full of string quartets.

Franz Schubert, String Quartet No. 14 in D minor (“Death and the Maiden,” 1824), excerpt (mvt. 2), Takacs Quartet, live, Scotland (outside Edinburgh), 1998

Sunday, 1/29/12

 joy, n. exultation of spirit; gladness, delight. E.g., Calvary Baptist Church in West Philadelphia, with John Legend singing “How I Got Over” (2011).

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lagniappe

listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures, Vol. 1 (Sound Signature)

• Coldcut, 70 Minutes of Madness (Journeys by DJ)

• O.V. Wright, Wright Stuff (Hi UK)

• Bertha “Chippie” Hill, 1925-1929 (Document)

• Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion (Domino)

• The Fisk Jubilee Quartet, There Breathes A Hope (Archeophone)

•  This May Be The Last Time Singing: Raw African-American Gospel on 45 RPM 1957-1982 (Tompkins Square)

• Lester Bowie’s Brass Fantasy, I Only Have Eyes For You (ECM)

• Chicago Underground Trio, Slon (Thrill Jockey)

• Charlie Christian, The Genius of the Electric Guitar (Sony)

• The Best of the Nat King Cole Trio: Vocal Classics, 1942-46 (Blue Note)

• Chicago Underground Trio, Slon (Thrill Jockey)

• Miles Davis, Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Prestige)

• Bill Dixon with Exploding Star Orchestra (Thrill Jockey)

• Mahmoud Ahmed, Ethiopiques 19 (Buda Musique)

• Ludwig van Beethoven/Julliard String Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 13 & 16 (Sony)

• Ludwig van Beethoven/Solomon, Piano Concertos Nos. 3 & 5 (EMI)

• Ludwig van Beethoven/Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, Herbert von Karajan cond., Symphony No. 7 (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Bela Bartok/Hungarian String Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 1-6 (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Bela Bartok/Takacs Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 5-6 (Hungaroton)

• Boulez Conducts Boulez (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Cleveland Orchestra, Pierre Boulez cond./Mitsuko Uchida, Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern, Alban Berg (Philips)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Markus Hinterhauser, piano (Col Legno)

• Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet, Aki Takahashi, Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch)

• Hawthorne String Quartet, Pavel Haas (String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3), Hans Krasa (String Quartet) (London)

• Pavel Haas Quartet, Leo Janacek (String Quartet No. 1), Pavel Haas (String Quartets Nos. 1 and 3) (Supraphon)

• Arvo Part, Litany (ECM)

• Arnold Schoenberg/LaSalle Quartet, String Quartets Nos. 3 and 4 (Brilliant Classics)

• Robert Schumann/Zehetmair Quartett, String Quartets Nos. 1 & 3 (ECM)

• Zehetmair Quartet, Bela Bartok (String Quartet No. 5), Paul Hindemith (String Quartet No. 4) (ECM)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

—Bach Festival
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)

• WFMU-FM

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
Give the Drummer Some (Doug Schulkind, sui generis, Web only)
Lamin’s Show (sui generis)

Sunday, 11/6/11

two takes

“Don’t sit around in a dead church and die!”

Take 1: Brother Anthony Wynn (Oasis Ministries, Riceville, Tennessee)

*****

Take 2: Sensimo

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lagniappe

listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• Theo Parrish, Sound Sculptures, Vol. 1 (Sound Signature)

• Jimmie Dale Gilmore, Come On Back (Rounder)

• Rare & Collectible Fine Wine: 27 Soulful Ultra-Obscurities From the Cellars (WMFU-FM 2011 Premium; Mr. Fine Wine, Downtown Soulville)

• Cooking Cherries (WMFU-FM 2011 Premium; Terre T, The Cherry Blossom Clinic)

• Miles Davis, The Legendary Prestige Quintet Sessions (Prestige)

• Don Pullen Plays Monk (Why Not)

• Lucky 7s, Farragut (Lakefront Digital)

• Julius Hemphill, One Atmosphere (Tzadik)

• Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet, with WLS, trumpet; Anthony Davis, piano; Malachi Favors, bass; Jack DeJohnette, drums (Tzakik)

• Goodbye, Babylon (Dust-to-Digital)

• Nikhil Banerjee, Raga Purabi Kaylan (Raga)

• Bela Bartok, String Quartets, Keller Quartet (Erato), Hungarian String Quartet (Deutsche Grammaphon), Takacs Quartet (Decca)

• Anton Bruckner, Symphony No. 6, North German Radio Orchestra (Gunter Wand, conductor) (RCA Victor)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Markus Hinterhauser, piano (Col Legno [import])

• Morton Feldman, Three Voices, Joan La Barbara (New Albion)

• Morton Feldman, Piano and String Quartet, Aki Takahashi, Kronos Quartet (Nonesuch)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)

—Jo Jones Centennial Festival
—Thelonious Monk birthday broadcast
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)
Amazing Grace (various, gospel)
Rag Aur Taal (various, Indian)
Jazz Profiles (various, jazz)
Out to Lunch (various, jazz)

• WFMU-FM

Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
Give the Drummer Some (Doug Schulkind, sui generis, Web only)
Daniel Blumin
Cherry Blossom Clinic (Terre T, rock, etc.)
Antique Phonograph Music Program (MAC, “78s and cylinders . . . played on actual period reproducing devices”)
HotRod (“Shamanic vibrational love frequencies for the infinite mind,” Web only)

• WHPK-FM (broadcasting from University of Chicago)

The Blues Excursion (Arkansas Red)

Sunday, 10/2/11

Here, at Luther Vandross’s funeral, Stevie testifies.

Stevie Wonder, “I Won’t Complain”
Live, New York (The Riverside Church), 2005

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lagniappe

For as long as you’ve got a harp in your heart, God’s got a hymn for your hurt. And as long as you’ve got a hymn, then you’ve got hope.

—Maurice O. Wallace (funeral sermon, quoted in Karla FC Holloway, Passed On: African American Mourning Stories [2002])

(Originally posted 10/11/09.)

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listening room: (some of) what’s playing

• Coldcut, 70 Minutes of Madness (Journeys by DJ)

• Mahmoud Ahmed, Ethiopiques, Vol. 6: Almaz (Buda Musique [import])

• Staff Benda Bilili, Tres Tres Fort (Crammed Discs)

• Louis Armstrong, Hot Fives & Sevens (JSP [import])

• Jaki Byard, Solo/Strings (Prestige)

• John Carter & Bobby Bradford’s New Art Jazz Ensemble, Seeking (hat Art)

• Eric Dolphy, Out to Lunch (Blue Note)

• Bill Evans Trio, Sunday at the Village Vanguard (Riverside)

• The Great Concert of Charles Mingus (Verve)

• The Complete Dean Benedetti Recordings Of Charlie Parker (Mosaic)

• Sun Ra, Sleeping Beauty (Phantom Sound & Vision [import])

• The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill & Air (Mosaic)

• Wadada Leo Smith’s Golden Quartet (Tzadik)

• Bela Bartok, String Quartets Nos. 5 & 6, Takacs Quartet (Hungaroton [import])

• David Behrman, On the Other Ocean (Lovely Music)

• Morton Feldman, Crippled Symmetry, Eberhard Blum, flute; Nils Vigland, piano, celesta; Jan Williams, glockenspiel, vibraphone (hat Art)

Morton Feldman, For Christian Wolff, Eberhard Blum, flute; Nils Vigland, piano, celesta (hat Art)

• Morton Feldman, For Bunita Marcus, Stephane Ginsburgh, piano (Sub Rosa) (available as a download from Amazon for 89¢)

• Morton Feldman, For Samuel Beckett, San Francisco Contemporary Players (Newport Classic)

• Morton Feldman, Triadic Memories, Markus Hinterhauser, piano (Col Legno [import])

• Morton Feldman,  Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello, Members of the Ives Ensemble (hat Art)

• Ingram Marshall, Kingdom Come (Nonesuch)

• Maurizio Pollini, piano, Arnold Schoenberg (The Solo Piano MusicPiano Concerto), Anton Webern (Variations, op. 27) (Deutsche Grammaphon)

• Dimitri Shostakovich, String Quartets Nos. 5, 6, & 7, Borodin Quartet (Melodiya)

• WKCR-FM (broadcasting from Columbia University)
—Lester Young/Charlie Parker birthday marathon
—John Coltrane birthday broadcast
Bird Flight (Phil Schaap, jazz [Charlie Parker])
Traditions in Swing (Phil Schaap, jazz)
Eastern Standard Time (Carter Van Pelt, Jamaican music)

• WFMU-FM
Mudd Up! (DJ/Rupture“new bass and beats”)
Sinner’s Crossroads 
(Kevin Nutt, gospel)
—Airborne Event (Dan Bodah, “electronic noise to free jazz, drone rock to a capella African song”)
Give the Drummer Some (Doug Schulkind, sui generis, web only)
Transpacific Sound Paradise (Rob Weisberg, “popular and unpopular music from around the world”)

WHPK-FM (broadcasting from University of Chicago)
The Blues Excursion (Arkansas Red)

Thursday, 2/11/10

intimate, adj. 1. Relating to or indicative of one’s deepest nature. 2. Essential; innermost. E.g., Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, op. 132.

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Beethoven composed his string quartet, Opus 132 in A minor, in the winter of 1824-5. He was 54 and recovering from a serious bowel condition from which he had nearly died. As a result, he entitled the central movement “a song of thanksgiving … offered to the divinity by a convalescent”, and the second section of this movement bears the inscription: “Feeling new strength.”

Over 100 years later, in March 1931, TS Eliot, aged 47, wrote to Stephen Spender: “I have the A minor Quartet on the gramophone, and I find it quite inexhaustible to study. There is a sort of heavenly, or at least more than human gaiety, about some of his later things which one imagines might come to oneself as the fruit of reconciliation and relief after immense suffering; I should like to get something of that into verse before I die.”

Eliot began the Four Quartets in 1935 and worked on it for years, finishing it in 1941. Whereas the composer wrote one quartet, with five movements, the poet wrote four pieces, each divided into five sections. Like Beethoven’s work, Eliot’s poem was triggered by personal suffering, although not of a physical nature. It was probably connected to his separation from his wife, Vivienne, in 1932; her mental illness; and the rekindling of a platonic relationship with his first love, the American university teacher Emily Hale.

The first poem in the series, Burnt Norton, opens with an image of a couple walking in a rose garden and is full of regret for what might have been. At this point, Eliot’s concerns appear personal. However, in 1939, when he was working on the second poem, East Coker, war had broken out and by 1940 Eliot was working in London as an air-raid warden during the Blitz. The climactic verse of the final poem, Little Gidding, is set at night in a London street just after a raid. By the end of the four poems, Eliot had moved from the personal to addressing what he described in the poem as the “distress of nations”.

If suffering is the trigger for both pieces, then faith offers the shared antidote of “reconciliation and relief” that Eliot wrote to Spender about. Both men were practising Christians, and their belief underpinned much of their later work. Beethoven was a Catholic, and Eliot famously converted to Anglicanism aged 38, nine years before writing Four Quartets.

In 1933 Eliot said he wanted to get “beyond poetry, as Beethoven in his later works, strove to get beyond music”. I am sure that it was Beethoven’s religious aims in the long and intense central movement of the quartet that Eliot had in mind when he wrote these words. Beethoven had been studying liturgical music – Palestrina in particular – while he was working on his Missa Solemnis, which he completed two years before starting work on the quartet. This study influenced the central movement of the quartet, which is based, unusually, on an ancient chorale melody and mode. Similarly, Eliot’s poem had a strong religious purpose and referenced Christianity in many forms – from direct quotations of the medieval mystic Juliana of Norwich, to the setting of the final poem in the village of Little Gidding, which was the site in the 17th century for a persecuted religious community.

Interestingly, however, both men were also drawn to the philosophy of eastern religions, with which they supplemented their own Christianity. Eliot quotes from the Hindu text, the Bhagavad-Gita, in Four Quartets. Beethoven was influenced by the older Hindu scripture, the Rig-Veda. In his diary the composer jotted down a line from the Rig-Veda commentary about the idea of God being “free from all passion and desire”. Eliot expresses similar sentiments in his poem when he writes about:

The inner freedom from the practical desire
The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving.

—Katie Mitchell, “A Meeting of Minds,” Guardian

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Beethoven, String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, op. 132/Takacs Quartet

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

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