Grieg, G minor op. 27
Nice to know Wigmaker has 600 quartets. I hope his collection includes Birtwistle's "The Tree of Strings" - though it may not have been recorded commercially yet. I hope the originator of this thread doesn't mind having Mozart suggested, though perhaps he knows them already. But my post followed two suggestions featuring Haydn, the vast majority of whose quartets predate Beethoven's. And Mozart's few (fewer than Beethoven's) mature quartets begin with a set dedicated to Haydn, which is one of the peaks of his work. I was - and am- surprised by a thread of this nature that doesn't at least mention them, though I think K 499 is his best.
Just want to say thanks to everyone who contributed to this post. Lots of helpful suggestions despite some people missing my request for string quartets post-Beethoven.
Special thanks to Philip Clark and the Captain for the links.
Interesting to see the digression on Holmboe. I strongly recommend his 11th symphony.
No problem, Symphonica. Also be worth your while checking out Gloria Coates' string quartets on Naxos.
A link to her website here: http://home.wanadoo.nl/eli.ichie/coates.html
I spent this afternoon listening to two wonderful, but little known, quartets which I would highly recommend to anyone of a curious disposition. I would be negligent in my national duty if I didn´t speak up on behalf of Freddie May´s String Quartet in C minor from 1936. The other one is John Foulds´ quite remarkable Quartetto Intimo, stunning. Has anyone heard Roslavets´ quartets?
Thanks for the Foulds recommendation.
Depends on your taste of course, but I have enjoyed the recordings by the Maggini String Quartet on the Naxos label.
There are quite a few but try the Moeran quartets (Naxos 8.554079) or Bax Quartets 1 and 2 (Naxos 8.555282).
If you fancy something a bit more contemporary then they have also recorded all 10 of Peter Maxwell Davis' Naxos Quartets which I think are now available as a box set.
How about the Webern pieces for string quartet - you've got the Five Pieces op.5, the Bagatelles op.9 and the later op.28 quartet. The first two in particular emerge as discretely tuneful, once you've given them a couple of spins.
I'm curious what your opinion is about this string quartet:
Not a masterpiece, but on top of the "B" list...
I agree with many of the string quartets mentioned above. I would stress that Szymanowski's two quartets are very good indeed. There is a wonderful, quite old recording by the Magginis playing them wonderfully (on the now defunct ASV label). The disc also contains Grazyna Bacewicz's string quartet No. 4. This is a masterpiece. I am also thinking of Einojuhani Rautavaara's string quartet No. 1. A short, muscular, young work that deserves to be heard more often. There is a very good recording on Ondine, coupled with a wonderful String Quintet. I also like Samuel Barber's only attempt on the medium. The slow middle movement was orchestrated later and became the now omni-famous Adagio for orchestra. It is accompanied by two fierce, hectic movements. Quite an achievement. Finally, I cannot leave two french masterpieces out of the list. Though an obvious recommendation, I could not live without Ravel's and Debussy's string quartets.
Dvorak, of course, and although its a quintet, the Bruckner.
Yes, i'm a Brucknerd.
Maybe you should try R.Murray Schafer, Canadian iconoclast composer. Pretty interesting stuff:
Hilidng Rosenberg and Wilhelm Stenhammer have two major cycles of great quality, both available on the Swedish Caprice label (I've heard rumours that Naxos is doing the Stenhammer cycle). I treasure both cycles highly.
Edited to avoid sounding like officer Crabtree.
Some of the most convincing chamber music for strings are in the form of string quintets, notably those of Mozart, Schubert, Brahms and Dvorak (though I'm sure there are others). It seems like these great composers truly excel in the Quartet+ medium. Strangely, Beethoven made a single quintet which is in no way comparable to his finest quartets.
Some quintets are scored with two violas, others with a double bass as the extra instrument - either way, the thicker texture of the quintet makes for a quite unique chamber music experience.