Robert Stewart & Donald Keats: String Quartets
Liner Notes   Cat. No. NWCRL256     Release Date: 2010-08-01

Iowa String Quartet: Allen Ohmes, violin; William Preucil, violin; John Ferrell, viola; Charles Wendt, cello
The Beaux-Arts String Quartet: Charles Libove, violin; Bernard Eichen, violin; John Graham, viola; Bruce Rogers, cello

About his String Quartet No. 3, Robert Stewart writes:

“The construction is based on two hexachords of a 12 tone row. The first hexachord contains a perfect 5th, a minor 2nd and a minor 7th. The second hexachord contains major and minor 2nds, perfect 4ths and augmented 5ths. The omission of 3rds and 6ths in the row lends a biting and tense character to the melodic structures which evolve from the permutation of intervals in each hexachord.

“The first movement contains three parts preceded by a slow introduction in fugal style. The first part is in fast tempo; the second, moderately fast, is a recitative; the third, a theme with six variations and coda.

“The second movement is in a large three part form; scherzo-and-trio, short adagio in ternary form, and a condensed sonata form using the reshaped scherzo theme.

About his music, Donald Keats writes:

String Quartet No. 2 was written in the period 1964-65, when I was living in Europe on sabbatical leave from Antioch College and holding a Guggenheim Fellowship in composition.

“The work has three movements. The first presents a tight motivic idea, based on the interval of a second, and then a more lyric one, over a pizzicato-glissando cello. Following the statement of the two ideas, there is a gradual “composed accelerando” and a gradual crescendo until a climax is reached, at which point the initial idea returns in a changed form.

“The second movement is a fast, driving scherzo in which there is a constant interplay between the fast triple meter and the division of the measure into twos. In contrast to this section there appears an adagio in which each instrument is treated soloistically. Often, muted pianissimo double-stopped chords are heard against the virtuoso solo writing. Following this middle section, the scherzo returns in altered form, and the movement ends with rhythmic and dynamic strength.

“The final movement begins with an amorphous rhythm followed by a section of strummed, quadruple- stopped chords against a lyric line. Out of these strummed chords grows a section which is faster, somewhat pointillistic in concept, with the glissandos, pizzicato in the first movement, now bowed and expanded to larger ranges. The climax of this section is reached with a 12-tone chord, triple-stopped in all the instruments, pizzicato, fff. The movement ends with a restatement of the original amorphous rhythm, and, as the tonal center shifts to an unexpected level, the final sounds heard, pianissimo, are those of the cello strumming the quadruple-stopped chord against the held tones of the viola.”


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.

***Please note that the newly-digitized CRI LP titles are priced at $12.99 (multiples excepted) and are not included in any of the special offers.***

Beaux Arts String Quartet

Robert Stewart & Donald Keats: String Quartets

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CD $12.99

Track Listing

String Quartet No. 3: I. Introduction - Recitative - Variations
Robert Stewart
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String Quartet No. 3: II. Scherzo - Adagio - Finale
Robert Stewart
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String Quartet No. 2: I. Poco adagio
Donald Keats
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String Quartet No. 2: II. Allegro molto
Donald Keats
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String Quartet No. 2: III. Andante
Donald Keats
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