String Quartet No. 6
April 29th, 2017 at the Candlelight Concert Society
Partly because of the superb example of Bartok, who still dominates the string quartet landscape of the 20th Century, six seems like a good number for a collection of quartets. The number also comes up in terms of Haydn (op. 20, 33, 64, and 76), as well as the Mozart set dedicated to Haydn.
The determination to write, and to conclude my own quartet enterprise with a Sixth came also from the image of the piece , with a sense of its character clarifying as I listened recently, at Tanglewood, to two pieces I have always loved, Bartok 6 and Haydn opus 76 no 6. The differences are so obvious, the Bartok is written in a questioning unstable idiom, one which he is still inventing, and it consciously sums up a lifetime of thought about the medium; the Haydn ends a set within a set, a lifetime enterprise, one for which he has also expanded, even discovered the basic premises, but one of which he accepted more of the “givens” than a progressive composer of Bartok’s time could ratify.
Other Works by John