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Quincy Porter (1897-1966): String Quartets Nos. 5-8 / Ives Quartet

Album Summary

>Porter, Quincy : Quartet for Strings no 7
>Porter, Quincy : Quartet for Strings no 5
>Porter, Quincy : Quartet for Strings no 6
>Porter, Quincy : Quartet for Strings no 8
Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The generation of composers that proved so influential in mid-20th c. America included Roger Sessions, Howard Hanson, Roy Harris and Quincy Porter. Porter's much-admired orchestral music is marked by originality in its absorption of neo-classicism, but his series of nine string quartets also represents an important contribution to the genre. Quartets Nos. 5 to 8 are the works of a composer who had been a professional string player in the 1920s and are marked by rhythmic sophistication and melodic tension. Inspired by the unique temperament of composer Charles Ives, the Ives Quartet is acclaimed for reveling in the unfamiliar and championing an eclectic repertoire, mixing established masterworks with neglected compositions of early-20th c. America, and commissioned new pieces. 'A very enjoyable disc which whets one's appetite for the remaining five quartets.' - Penguin Guide on Volume 1 (8.559305).

American Record Guide, November/December 2015
I have no problem calling 7 a masterpiece. The themes in I are insistent and have a hint of Eastern Europe to them. II is an adagio with wandering chromatic lines and sighing two note motives that keep everything moving. III shows how adept Porter. 6:I has a lively, dancing theme. Mark Lehman wrote glowingly of the slow movement (Potomac Quartet; Albany 918, July/Aug 2007). They're excellent in the luxurious Adagio Molto Espressivo of 8. Mr Lehman preferred the Potomac's cycle to the Ives's first installment (Naxos 559305, Nov/Dec 2007) for their "brisker, nimbler" playing and clearer sonics. I'd recommend buying it instead. The sound is good; notes are in English.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: St. Stephens Church, Belvedere, California, Unites Stat (2008-05-20&2009-05-23&2008-).



Reviews

Methodical and Powerful
For listeners not acquainted with Quincy Porter (1897-1966), he was an influential composer and academician who hailed from New England, Connecticut to be precise. At one time, Porter was highly regarded, his music performed regularly. Today, for a variety of reasons, he is virtually forgotten. Porter composed works in several genres including orchestral music, some of it quite memorable. It was in the realm of chamber music, especially the string quartet, wherein the composer made an enduring impression. In all, Porter composed 9 quartets from the 1920s through the 1950s. Animating this body of work is methodical intellect balanced by a refined emotional depth. Throughout his career, Porter adhered to a highly personal approach to tonality. His manipulation of counterpoint and subtle motivic development was second to none. His writing was never glib nor contrived. As a violinist, he was intimately familiar with the technical challenges and capabilities peculiar to string instruments. In this their second disc devoted to Porter, the Ives Quartet demonstrates a unanimity of vision as well as an intuitive grasp of ebb and flow. There is a tendency toward coarseness and a slight drop off in definition in the more robust tutti passages. Overall, the playing is good. A projected third volume is rumored to feature the composerís final essay for this instrumental configuration as well as several smaller pieces utilizing the same forces. The recording, emanating from St. Stephens Church in Belvedere, CA is quite good: resonant, open and natural.
Submitted on 07/17/15 by Allen Cohen 
Outstanding series continues
Quincy Porter was a well-respected American composer and pedagogue. Although he composed several concertos and two symphonies, his reputation rests primary on his nine string quartets.

A contemporary of Aaron Copland and Howard Hanson, Porter wrote absolute music that tended to use established forms. But that didn't limit his imagination at all.

This is the second volume in the Ives Quartet's traversal of Porter's quartets. The ensemble has a very rich, warm recorded sound that seems quite appropriate to these post-romantic compositions.

Porter's fifth string quartet, written in 1935 is somber and introspective in character. It's contrasted by The sixth, written two years later. That quartet has an edge to it, with a restless energy in places (especially the first movement).

The seventh quartet was composed during World War II, and seems poised between to worlds. It has a light, open sound with some memorable motifs that seem a little old-fashioned. Yet its extended chromaticism in places obscures the tonality and some of the repeated rhythms seem to look ahead.

The post-war eighth string quartet is new music for a brave new world. It's much more aggressive than the other quartets on this album, and highly chromatic in a way that borders on the atonal (without crossing the line). Yet Porter is at heart a traditionalist, so even in this most modern of his works, melody is still paramount.

Highly recommended to anyone interested in exploring American repertoire.
Submitted on 09/24/15 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Porter, Quincy : Quartet for Strings no 7
  • Ensemble: Ives Quartet
  • Notes: St. Stephens Church, Belvedere, California, Unites States (2008-05-20&2009-05-23&2008-)
  • Running Time: 15 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1943

>Porter, Quincy : Quartet for Strings no 5
  • Notes: St. Stephens Church, Belvedere, California, Unites States (2008-05-20&2009-05-23&2008-)
  • Running Time: 17 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1935

>Porter, Quincy : Quartet for Strings no 6
  • Notes: St. Stephens Church, Belvedere, California, Unites States (2008-05-20&2009-05-23&2008-)
  • Running Time: 18 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1937

>Porter, Quincy : Quartet for Strings no 8
  • Notes: St. Stephens Church, Belvedere, California, Unites States (2008-05-20&2009-05-23&2008-)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 18 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1950