Gramophone a British monthly magazine that covers the whole area of music and recordings. Their reviews provide a good introduction to the latest string quartet releases. For more information, see www.gramophone.co.uk
Strings Magazine is a US publication primarily aimed a players of stringed instruments, but includes good articles on string quartets and reviews of albums. For more information, see allthingsstrings.com
The Strad magazine is a UK publication primarily aimed at players of stringed instruments, but also includes good articles on string quartets and reviews of albums. For more information, see www.thestrad.com
BBC Music is a publication of BBC that has articles on music, composers, and upcoming events. Each issue comes with a CD of a recent release supporting the lead article. Aimed at the general reader. For more information, see www.classical-music.com/
Chamber Music America (CMA)
If you are really interested in chamber music, you can join Chamber Music America, a professional association of people interested in chamber music. Most are professionals, either performers or agents, teachers or retailers interested in chamber music. Non-professionals can join, however. The association publishes a magazine, ChamberMusic which has special issues, like one that lists summer festivals, and another that lists professional music schools. CMA also hosts a Conference each year -- which provides a great opportunity to attend workshops on various chamber music topics. For more information, see www.chamber-music.org
The Cambridge Companion to the String Quartet edited by Robin Stowell. Cambridge Press, 2003. 373 pages. A comprehensive overview of the history of the string quartet, celebrated quartet groups, and the string quartet repertory.
The String Quartet by Paul Griffiths. Thames and Hudson, 1983. 240 pages. A very good overview of the string quartet literature with several detailed examples.
21st Century String Quartets by Edith Eisler. String Letter Publishing, 2000. 127 pages. A book that includes a number of interviews and notes on some of the leading string quartet groups, as of the end of the last century.
Twentieth-Century Chamber Music (2ed) by James McCalla. Routledge, 2003. 284 pages. A survey of contemporary chamber music, with a large section focused on string quartet music. A good discussion of the music of Schoenberg, Bartok, Shostakovich, Stravinsky, Ives and Seeger, and many other contemporary composers, including Glass, Carter and Cage. Nice overview of the work of Kronos Quartet in championing contemporary string quartet music.
Intimate Voices: The Twentieth-Century String Quartet: Volume 1. Debussy to Villa Lobos. Edited by Evan Jones. Uni. of Rochester Press, 2009. 295 pages. A collection of essays, some very technical, and some really excellent on specific modern composers and their string quartets.
Intimate Voices: The Twentieth-Century String Quartet: Volume 2. Shostakovich to the Avante-Garde. Edited by Evan Jones. Uni. of Rochester Press, 2009. 338 pages. A collection of essays, some very technical and some really excellent on specific modern composers and their string quartets. Essays on Britten, Ligeti, Cage and Carter, among others.
The Art of Quartet Playing: The Guarneri Quartet in Conversation with David Blum. Alfred A Knopf, 1986. 250 pages. A discussion of quartet playing by one of the best known string quartet groups. There is an extensive, and very interesting 59 page long detailed discussion of the performance of Beethoven’s Opus 131, Quartet 14 in C-sharp Minor.
Indivisible by Four: A String Quartet in Pursuit of Harmony by Arnold Steinhardt. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1998. A pleasant read by one of the members of the Guarneri Quartet that describes the quartet, how they approach their music, and their life on the road.
The LaSalle Quartet: Conversations with Walter Levin by Robert Spruytenburg. Boydell Press, 2014. Walter Levin began life in pre-WWII Germany, moved with his family to Palestine in the 30s, came to NYC to study at the Juilliard, and then formed the LaSalle Quartet. The Quartet, which ultimately settled in Cincinnati and became one of America's most admired quartets, introduced a whole generation to the Second Viennese School, to a variety of composers, like Zemlinsky, whose careers the Nazi's destroyed, and to many modern composers. This is a great history of an important US string quartet, a very nice introduction to the wide variety of modern composers that the LaSalle has sponsored, and an inspiring biography of a great first violinist.
The Beethoven Quartets by Joseph Kerman. W.W.Norton, 1966. 390 pages. The authoritative, but very technical discussion of all of Beethoven’s string quartets with extensive reference to their scores.
The String Quartets of Béla Bartók: Tradition and Legacy in Analytical Perspective by Dániel Péter Biró and Harald Krebs (Editors). Oxford Uni. Press, 2014. 368 pages. A series of essays on the six Bartok string quartets. Technical, but very interesting for those who really want a detailed understanding these important quartets.
The Beethoven String Quartets. A set of lectures on video discs by Robert Greenberg -- very like his lectures for SF Performances, except they are recorded as videos (DVDs). The lecture series comes with a guidebook that includes lecture notes and diagrams of 3 of the quartets. The course is available from The Great Courses. For more information, see www.thegreatcourses.com/tgc/courses/course_detail.aspx?cid=7240
The Daily Beethoven. This is a website with an extensive set of YouTube videos. In essence, each video analyzes one Beethoven composition. There are symphonies and other Beethoven music, but one section includes all of his string quartets. (and a few quartets by others, like a Bartok quartet). Each analysis shows a color coded sonogram of the music elements making up each movement. The music plays and a line moves to show you where you are in each quartet as it plays. If you want to follow up Greenberg's lectures on Beethoven's quartets with a detailed look at the structure of each quartet, check this out at www.youtube.com/user/lvbandmore
Exploring the Beethoven Quartets. The Elias String Quartet has recoreded the Beethoven Quartets. While doing so, they creates a section on their website devoted to information on the Beethoven Quartets. Much of it is quite good. To access all the information they have published, see: thebeethovenproject.com/category/explore/ I especially liked an article by Tully Potter -- even though I disagreed with much of what he said. He provides a review of the Beethoven Quartets on disc, and indirectly a history of many of the great string quartets in the last 100 years. The article is particularly good on underlining the way quartets change members and the difference such changes make in their performances. To read this article, see:
Shostakovich's String Quartets. This website is devoted to the string quartets of Shostakovich. There is a lot of general information on string quartets, much like this site, and specific information about each of the Shostakovich string quartets, as well as at least one movement from each quartet (mostly by the Emerson String Quartet). Check it out: www.quartets.de/
earsense.org This is a website run by Kai Christiansen, a musicologist from Kohl Mansion. He often comments on chamber music that occurs at Kohl, but, more important, he has a comprehensive database of information about chamber music composers and compositions. You can do searches on the earsense.org database and find out all kinds of things, as for example, the earliest know American string quartet composer, or German string quartet composers living in 1900, etc. For more information, check out his site: earsense.org
Wikipedia There are a wide variety of articles on wikipedia. It's the first place I go to check on a new string quartet group, for example. If you want a single example, check their list of String Quartet Composers at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_string_quartet_composers
A Late Quartet (2012) . Director: Yaron Ziberman, Writers: Seth Grossman, Yaron Ziberman. Actors: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Christopher Walken, Catherine Keener, Mark Ivanir. This movie depicts how a well-established string quartet comes to grips with the fact that one member has Parkinson’s disease and will have to retire. Entertainment and also some insight about the close relationship developed by a group that plays together constantly. (Quartet playing performed by Brentano String Quartet.) For a YouTube trailor, see www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX66lRnNmqs
Here's a cute YouTube video of a quartet whose members don't get along quite so well. www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKezUd_xw20
Here is a video posted on the New York Times of a short interview with Kronos about quartet playing.
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