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Marx: Complete String Quartets / Thomas Christian Ensemble

Album Summary

>Marx, Joseph : Quartet for Strings in Antique mode
>Marx, Joseph : Quartet for Strings in Classical mode
>Marx, Joseph : Quartet for Strings in A major ("Quartetto Chromatico")
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"Joseph Marx's music is rarely heard these days. The Austrian composer was a protege of Max Reger and inhabits the post-romantic sound world of Scriabin, Strauss, Respighi, Szymanowski, and Korngold. He had a remarkable intellect and was sufficiently recognized as a composer, performer, critic, educator, and public intellectual that he was considered for the post of President of Austria. He was a professor, and later director, at the Hochschule fur Musik and believed passionately that tonality was a law of nature, unavoidable for the future of music. Perhaps this accounts for his comparative neglect. Serial music came to dominate the academy, both in Europe and the US, for much of the central part of the 20th Century; and figures such as Marx, Schreker, and Schmidt were considered hopelessly old-fashioned. From the sounds of these performances, his music is due for reassessment and revival. The recording is billed as the complete string quartets. All the works were composed in a five-year period, from 1936 to 1941. The earliest was the Quartetto Chromatico, though it was revised in 1948, as the composer's last work. Though the modulations occur so often that a tonal center is often hard to identify, it remains Viennese to its core, luxuriant and lyric. The Quartetto in Modo Antico purports to follow compositional practices of Palestrina and Lassus, though that is not apparent to the ear. The movements are modal (Mixolydian, Dorian, and Phrygian) and are all quite purely diatonic. The sonorities and melodies, however, are romantic and will never be mistaken for music of the Counter-Reformation Renaissance. I prefer that, and the resultant homage to antiquity is quite lovely. The Quartetto in Modo Classico is a similar homage to Haydn and is something in the vein of Prokofieff's Classical Symphony or Stravinsky's Pulcinella. Formally, the work follows the sonata-based outline of the 18th Century quartet, and chromaticism is kept at a discreet level. But, again, the result is recognizably Marx and 20th Century Vienna-and it is delightful. The Thomas Christian Ensemble brings together musicians for selected chamber music performances (including chamber versions of Bruckner's Seventh and Mahler's Fourth). The core string quartet, led by Christian, plays marvelously here, with rock-solid intonation, excellent ensemble, and a lush tone perfect for this music. Their performance is one I'll return to often. Excellent notes by the General Secretary of the Joseph Marx Society." -ARG



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Works Details

>Marx, Joseph : Quartet for Strings in Antique mode
  • Notes: ORF-Funkhaus / Studio 2 (12/06/2005-12/11/2005)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 21 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1937-1938

>Marx, Joseph : Quartet for Strings in Classical mode
  • Notes: ORF-Funkhaus / Studio 2 (12/06/2005-12/11/2005)
  • Running Time: 21 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1940-1941

>Marx, Joseph : Quartet for Strings in A major ("Quartetto Chromatico")
  • Notes: ORF-Funkhaus / Studio 2 (12/06/2005-12/11/2005)
  • Running Time: 28 min. 5 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1936-1938