Porter: Quartet No. 8; Carter: Eight Etudes and a Fantasy
Quincy Porter composed his Eighth String Quartet at his ‘music hut’ on Squam Lake and in his studio in New Haven in the spring of 1950. It was commissioned by the Stanley Quartet of the University of Michigan and was first performed by that group in Ann Arbor on July 25th of that year. The Stanley Quartet also played it on many other occasions, and it has been in the repertory of the Budapest Quartet ever since they first performed it at the Library of Congress in March 1951.

In reviewing the first performance of this work, Ross Lee Finney wrote as follows:
“Regardless of its appearance on the program — Lento, Allegro, Adagio, Molto espressivo, this work is in one movement. There are, of course, different tempos and different moods, but the formal design is found in the flow of one idea into the next and the lovely arch of the entire work, ending where it began. The idiom, as one would expect from Porter, is completely free of the affectations that pass for modern. He is primarily the writer of beautiful melodic lines, but they always suffuse into subtle, iridescent harmonic colors. The quality in the music must be accepted as a special gift to the listener from an exceedingly sensitive ear.”

Elliott Carter’s ‘Eight Etudes and a Fantasy’ was born out of rather unusual circumstances which the writer Abraham Skulsky relates as follows: “At a class demonstration of the woodwind instruments, the composer was disappointed in the examples his students brought in. So during the class he wrote out some experimental passages on the blackboard for the woodwind players to try. Later these passages were worked up into ‘Eight Etudes and a Fantasy’ for woodwind quartet, a series of pieces that reveal an unusual command of writing for the instruments, and a knowledge of their special effects, some of which have not yet reached orchestration books. The striking methods of combining the instruments demonstrate Carter’s aural imagination at work in the domain of special sounds. One etude which usually provokes comment is built entirely on one note, contrasting the colors of the flute, oboe, clarinet and bassoon as they attack, increase or diminish in volume, alone or combined together. Another is a mosaic made up of a two-note motive and a rest tossed about among the performers, out of which themes, passage work, an entire piece is built on the pattern. The whole concludes with a contrapuntal fantasy which joins many ideas from the etudes into a coherent whole.”

This title from the CRI LP back catalog has been carefully transferred from the original master tape, and is now available from New World Records as an on-demand CD (CD-R). It can also be downloaded in MP3/320, FLAC and/or WAV format(s).

We have preserved the original CRI LP catalog number for this title, preceded by the prefix NWCRL, to distinguish previously unavailable back catalog titles from those later reissued by CRI on compact disc.
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The Stanley String Quartet of the University of Michigan

Porter: Quartet No. 8; Carter: Eight Etudes and a Fantasy

MP3/320 $9.99
FLAC $9.99
WAV $9.99
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Track Listing

String Quartet No. 8: I. Lento; Allegro
Quincy Porter
Buy
String Quartet No. 8: II. Adagio, molto espressivo
Quincy Porter
Buy
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy: Etude I - Maestoso (仩= 84)
Elliott Carter
Buy
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy: Etude II - Quietly (仩= 72)
Elliott Carter
Buy
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy: Etude III - Adagio possibile (仩= 72 or slower)
Elliott Carter
Buy
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy: Etude IV - Vivace (仩= 168)
Elliott Carter
Buy
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy: Etude V - Andante (仩= 60)
Elliott Carter
Buy
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy: Etude VI - Allegretto leggero (仩= 90)
Elliott Carter
Buy
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy: Etude VII - Intensely (仩= 126)
Elliott Carter
Buy
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy: Etude VIII - Presto (仩= 160)
Elliott Carter
Buy
Eight Etudes and a Fantasy: Fantasy - Tempo giusto (仩= 84)
Elliott Carter
Buy

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