View Full Version : Chamber Music

April 24th, 2012, 06:47 AM
So if you want to listen to something other than opera, and large-scale compositions aren't your cup of tea, I suggest you sample the repertoire of chamber music. These works, including trios, quartets, and quintets, among others, often highlight the true mastery of composers, especially when it comes to counterpoint. There are so many incredible places to start, that I won't even try to catalog them all, but one of the all-time greats in this category is Haydn, and his entire catalog of string quartets is very enjoyable. At budget price, the Kodaly Quartet's catalog of these works on Naxos is highly recommended. However, today I went with a quartet whose output I have greatly admired, from their recording of the entire Beethoven String Quartet cycle on Decca, to their wonderful recording of Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" and "Rosamunde" quartets on Hyperion - the Takacs Quartet. I recently inherited an iPod Touch, and sampling the ability to purchase directly from iTunes, I grabbed the recent recording by the Takacs Quartet of Haydn's Op. 74 String Quartets, also on the Hyperion label (they have also recorded the Op. 71 String Quartets recently for the same label). I love Hyperion recordings, not only for the quality of their talent, but for the detail they also pay to the packaging - the artwork on their album covers always impresses me. Anyways, here is what I purchased, and am in the process of listening to right now:


April 24th, 2012, 01:47 PM
My personal favourites are by Antonin Dvorak,

His string quartets, piano quintet and a lot of smaller works like the bagatelles and mazurka for violin are great.

April 24th, 2012, 02:54 PM
This is a piece by Debussy, the Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, written in 1915 and dedicated to his wife, Emma. It was premiered in 1917, during a concert to raise funds for the victims of the Great War. The first movement is full of a resigned melancholy, a mournful tenderness, and hauntingly beautiful.

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Luiz Gazzola (Almaviva)
April 24th, 2012, 03:28 PM
Very nice.

April 24th, 2012, 03:45 PM
Some chamber music that I love and get back to from time to time (with omission of obvious masterpieces like Beethoven's late quartets or Chopin cello sonata):






April 24th, 2012, 11:16 PM
Anybody look for a nice complete set of Handel's chamber music (including limited works of uncertain authorship) can settle for this version on budget label Brilliant Classics, played by familiar names on period instruments.


April 24th, 2012, 11:19 PM
I'm also collecting the string quartets of Louis Spohr (1784-1859). He wrote over 30 SQ and these have been gradually recorded by budget label Marco Polo (i.e. Naxos). Volume 14 was released last year.


April 24th, 2012, 11:37 PM
I like what has been posted here.

This one takes in the top three Things That I Feel Strongest About Besides Wagner (Or Messiaen)

The version uploaded here to youtube is played a little more straight than the interpretation I usually listen to, which has so much rubato and such looseness in communication that it seems to me almost entirely arhythmic.

April 25th, 2012, 12:46 AM
All excellent suggestions. If I were to add some more to my list of essential chamber music, it would include:
Beethoven's String Quartets - all of them!
Haydn's String Quartets
Brahms' Piano Trio No. 1 - one of the first classical works I truly fell in love with
Dvorak's Piano Trios
Mozart's String Quintets
Mozart's Divertimento K. 563
Schubert's Death and the Maiden and Rosamunde String Quartets
Schubert's String Quintet - unlike Mozart's Quintets, where an additional viola is added, Schubert adds a cello
Barber's String Quartet - this is perhaps best known for its adagio, which was later re-written for a larger group and is referred to as the "Adagio for Strings" and may be known to many due to its inclusion in the movie "Platoon," but I strongly suggest listening to it in the original string quartet variant. The aching beauty of it is even more pronounced with the smaller number of instruments.
Rachmaninov's Elegiac Piano Trios - I prefer the 2nd the best

April 25th, 2012, 09:20 AM
I particularly enjoy Barber's.

Let's hear a String Quartet by American composer Ruth Crawford Seeger. It was written in 1931, and divided in four movements. This was the first piece I ever heard from her, and it's still one of my favourites. Just ten minutes of amazing music, especially the fourth and last movement.

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April 25th, 2012, 09:03 PM
Some of my favourite works from my favourite composer as mentioned above:


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April 26th, 2012, 08:03 PM
This little gem displaying Hindemith in all his quirkyness:


Also, more quirky by Poulenc:


Also, some more quirky by Nielsen:


Finally, a brass quintet that sounds infinitely easier than it really is. It's Joseph Horowitz' Music Hall Suite!


April 30th, 2012, 07:49 PM
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The "Heiliger Dankgesang," constituting the third movement of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132, is one of the most beautiful and poignant works I have ever heard. The full name given is "Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart" - translated, this reads "A Holy Song of Thanksgiving from a Convalescent to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode," and was written following Beethoven's recovery from an illness that he thought would lead to his death. This movement alone makes the 15th my favorite of his late string quartets.

May 9th, 2012, 09:10 AM
The beautiful String Quartet composed by Alban Berg in 1910, performed by the Alban Berg Quartet:


July 17th, 2012, 08:52 AM
The beautiful and harrowing Shostakovich's Piano Quintet in G minor, written in 1940:


August 9th, 2012, 09:25 PM
Ignaz Jakob Holzbauer - Quintetto per Cembalo, Flauto, Violino, Violetta e Violoncello in B flat major.

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August 13th, 2012, 09:31 PM
Peter Heise - Piano Quintet in F major (1869)


August 13th, 2012, 09:42 PM
English composer Joseph Holbrooke (1878-1958)


August 17th, 2012, 04:53 PM
Vítězslav Novák : String Quartet nº2 in D major


August 18th, 2012, 12:36 AM
One of the 15 CD volumes from Marco Polo so far released of the SQ by Louis Spohr.


August 19th, 2012, 09:38 AM
Samuel Barber - Canzonetta for oboe and strings

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August 20th, 2012, 07:20 PM
František Adam Míča : String Quartet C Major


August 24th, 2012, 04:30 PM
Mondonville - Sonata for Harpsichord & Violin


September 4th, 2012, 12:15 PM
The beautiful quintet for Harp, Flute, Violin, Viola and Cello written by Jean Cras in 1920:


September 5th, 2012, 02:18 PM
I have lots of music that I like to listen except of opera, preferably it’s classics, so here is a list of my favorites:
Faure – Pavane
Mahler&Schnittke – Piano Quartet in A minor
Mozart – Requiem Mass in D minor by
Debussy – “Rhapsodie” for alto saxophone and piano or orchestra
Dobrinka Tabakova – Suite in Old Style for viola, strings and harpsichord, in the performance of Maxim Rysanov, who by the way has recently issued a new disk of Beethoven’s compositions in collaboration with Kristina Blaumane and Jacob Katsnelson, which is now also one of my favorites! If you haven’t heard it yet, you can do it here (http://www.onyxclassics.com/cddetail.php?CatalogueNumber=ONYX4108).

September 11th, 2012, 04:44 PM
Lukas Foss - Three American Pieces (1944), for violin and piano:

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September 12th, 2012, 12:06 PM
Johann Nepomuk Hummel's "Sonata for Mandolin and Piano in C minor" (1810)


September 15th, 2012, 03:12 PM
Salvatore Sciarrino - Codex Purpureus (1983), for String Trio:

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September 19th, 2012, 10:50 AM
Heinrich Von Herzogenberg - String Trio No. 1 in A Major (1877)

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September 19th, 2012, 11:13 AM
I have that on recording (CPO label). Herzogenberg is a composer whose music I have only just started to discover from a year or so ago. I don't think he wrote any operas, however.

September 21st, 2012, 10:49 AM
Vagn Holmboe - Concerto No. 1 for piano, strings and timpani (1939):

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October 6th, 2012, 07:54 PM
Benjamin Britten - String Quartet No. 1 (1941):


October 20th, 2012, 10:06 AM
The beautiful and somewhat underrated Paysages et Marines written in 1916 by French composer Charles Koechlin, for piano, flute, clarinet and string quartet:


October 20th, 2012, 06:15 PM
My today's evening listen is Chopin's Cello Sonata, it isn't entirely obscure but it's sadly neglected due to the "only piano composer" stereotype, just like his songs and, to lesser extent, piano trio:


October 31st, 2012, 05:54 PM
Rudolf Wagner-Régeny's String Quartet (1948):


November 10th, 2012, 06:38 PM
Guido Turchi wrote this "Concerto breve", for String Quartet, in 1947:

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November 14th, 2012, 01:06 PM
Jan van Gilse - Trio for flute, violin and viola (1927):


November 20th, 2012, 11:57 AM
An astonishing piece of music: Giacinto Scelsi's String Quartet nº 4 (1964):

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November 21st, 2012, 09:57 PM
While there are certainly exceptions (Mozart's clarinet quintet, and quintet for piano and winds, Schubert's "Death and the Maiden" quartet, etc...) chamber music... quartets and quintets especially... have been the genre with which I have the most difficulty coming to really love. I find it easier for me to love lieder and concertos and even works for solo instruments. Beethoven suggested, or so I read somewhere, that the string quartet, in his imagining, was akin to a group of equals engaged in a dialog... sometimes shouting, sometimes laughing, sometimes crying. Perhaps this is where I struggle... with the balance of instruments as "equals". Much of the music I most admire is about virtuosos: opera, concertos, works for solo instrumentalist, etc... In spite of this, I own most of the major quartet cycles: Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Schubert, Shostakovitch, Bartok, etc... I also feel that Brahms chamber works may be his greatest achievements (along with his choral work) and the same is true of Shosty's quartets. And then there's Bach... the unrivaled musical god in my book... and yet I cannot help but recognize how in contrast to the Italianate Handel's theatricality, Bach's vocal works are often structured as more intimate chamber groupings. Well I said there were exceptions:


November 22nd, 2012, 08:32 AM
I have that CD pictured above. It's one of my favourite recordings of those two quintets.

November 29th, 2012, 10:45 AM
Richard Meale - Sonata for Flute and Piano (1960):


January 19th, 2013, 08:05 PM
Andante et Scherzo for Saxophone Quartet (1938), by Eugène Bozza:


February 18th, 2013, 10:05 PM
Witold Lutosławski - String Quartet (1964)


May 22nd, 2013, 12:20 PM
Charles Ives - String Quartet No. 1 (1900):

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May 25th, 2013, 10:04 PM
Olivier Messian was captured during the initial days of the battle for France, in WWII. He was imprisoned in a prisoner-of-war camp, in Germany, and there he wrote Quatuor pour la fin du temps, (Quartet for the End of Time), scored for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano, the instruments available in the camp:


May 27th, 2013, 06:01 PM
Gian Carlo Menotti - Trio for Violin Clarinet and Piano (1996):


June 1st, 2013, 08:25 PM
Vincent d'Indy - Quintette pour piano et quatuor à cordes (1924):

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