By James M. Keller
Oxford's hugely profitable listener's guides--The Symphony, The Concerto, and Choral Masterworks--have been extensively praised for his or her combination of pleasing biography, crystal transparent musical research, and pleasant humor. Now James Keller follows those enormously well known volumes with Chamber song. forthcoming the culture of chamber track with wisdom and fervour, Keller the following serves because the often-opinionated yet constantly genial consultant to 192 crucial works by means of fifty six composers, supplying illuminating essays on what makes every piece specified and admirable. Keller spans the heritage of this intimate style of track, from key works of the Baroque during the emotionally stirring "golden age" of the Classical and Romantic composers, to fashionable masterpieces wealthy in political, mental, and infrequently comical overtones. for every piece, from Bach via to modern figures like George Crumb and Steve Reich, the writer contains an astute musical research that informal song enthusiasts can simply savor but that more matured listeners will locate enriching. Keller stocks the colourful, usually incredible tales at the back of the compositions whereas revealing the delights of an paintings shape as soon as defined through Goethe because the musical an identical of "thoughtful humans conversing."
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Extra resources for Chamber Music: A Listener's Guide
When all is said and done, however, the most memorable aspect of the Fourth Quartet is surely the sheer novelty of its sound. No previous quartet— certainly none that has claimed a place in the standard repertoire—had made such sustained use of unusual sonic effects available to a string quartet. This particularly characterizes the second half of the piece. In the Non troppo lento movement the cello’s espressivo melody is supported by a chordal accompaniment by the other strings; but Bartók meticulously indicates at what point those chords are to be played with vibrato or without vibrato, yielding a 24 CHAMBER MUSIC: A LISTENER’S GUIDE timbre that is respectively more ascetic or more lush.
In the initial Largo—its 10 CHAMBER MUSIC: A LISTENER’S GUIDE opening bass line being a filled-out version of the royal theme—we find the intensity of emotional expression familiar from Bach’s cantatas, while the third-movement Andante bathes itself in the sighing Empfindsamer Stil popular in the Potsdam Court. The concluding Allegro is cast as a highspirited gigue in 6/8 meter. The movement’s main motif is clearly a rhythmic variation on Frederick’s theme, and it is worked out with exorbitant subtlety of counterpoint, expressive chromatic progressions, and layers of rhythmic contrasts.
I made a speech against myself, essentially, telling them it was crazy that they didn’t use local composers. It was certainly done in Bach’s day. But they didn’t like that idea. They wanted the same old tired names—Copland, Sessions, Harris, me—so it never got off the ground. In any case, Barber signed on to compose a septet for three winds, three strings, and piano. As the piece emerged, its forces morphed into a sextet and finally into a wind quintet, the eventual scoring reflecting how impressed Barber had been by his exposure to the New York Woodwind Quintet during the summer of 1954 in Blue Hill, Maine.