String Quartet no. 3

Categories: Strumentale
Comments: 1 Comment
Published on: 17 May 2009

pageAGP ha ripubblicato due incisioni di Lukas Foss, compositore nato a Berlino nel 1922 ed emigrato negli USA con la famiglia per sfuggire al nazismo. Deceduto il 1 febbraio di quest’anno a 86 anni, Foss è tanto conosciuto e apprezzato negli USA quanto poco in Europa.

Eccovi il suo furioso String Quartet no. 3 del 1975, nell’esecuzione del Columbia Quartet (Benjamin Hudson, violin; Carol Zeavin, violin; Janet Lyman Hill, viola; Andre Emelianoff, cello).

Alcune note:

STRING QUARTET NO. 3 is Foss’ most extreme composition; it is themeless, tuneless, and restless. It is probably the first quartet without a single pizzicato since Haydn. The four strings are made to sound like an organ furiously preluding away. The sound vision which gave birth to this quartet may be the most merciless in the quartet literature.

Though some of the pages of the music may look unusual (see image, click to enlarge), QUARTET NO. 3 is notated in every detail. There are no performer choices, except for the number of repeats of certain patterns. Repetition? Actually something is always changing, even in the introduction, which contains only two pitches, A and C, combining in various ways – a kind of prison from which the players are liberated by a sudden all-interval flurry. There follows an extended fortissimo section of broken chord-waves with ever-changing rhythmic inflections. This leads into a rigidly structured pianissimo episode of accelerating and retarding twenote cells. The idea of an exhausting fortissimo followed by an equally unalleviated pianissimo is reminiscent of Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge, a work for which Foss has a special passion. Foss’ pianissimo section is however unmelodic and active. At one point near the end, the musicians are granted the one and only sustained sound; then the frantic waves and counter waves resume, this time in rhythmic unison, each moment of change cued by the first violin. The closing C major chord is neither a peaceful resolution nor a joke, but rather like an object on which the music stumbles, as if by accident, causing a short circuit, which brings the rush of broken chord patterns to a sudden halt.

STRING QUARTET NO. 3 was written for the Concord Quartet who obtained a grant from the New York State Council toward the commission of the piece and premiered it at Alice Tully Hall, New York on March 15, 1976.

Lukas Foss – String Quartet no. 3 (1975)

1 Comment
  1. alfonso says:

    bellissimo, e per niente furioso, a mio avviso….. molto più quieto degli elicotteri di stockhausen, tanto per dirne uno

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