Tuesday, January 5, 2010

leos janacek | string quartets nos. 1 & 2

speaking of not-unfancied folksy first and second string quartets... (err...), here we find the melos quartet in fine form sawing out a couple from leos janacek, one of the last century's great interlocutors in the classical-finds-folk discourse. in the "kreutzer sonata" (quartet no. 1), janacek works wonders with distension: pushing harmonic relationhips at the end of an amplitudinally funnel-shaped line --> impregnating antique drama with a sense of new mystery, creating a richly textured depth of character. in the second quartet, janacek seems to approach the frailty of nostalgia as on earlier works, such as "on an overgrown path"; coming to it not wanting to disturb its watery temperment, only to find in it a pool of endless vexation (unquenchable fascination!). could also be a compelling statement on the predicament of janacek's beloved slavic & moravian folk cultures. either way. or other ways. another important thing to speculate on here, janacek's quartets — like those of ravel, debussy, prokofiev — contain a certain "magical" element. what's interesting to me is that the descriptor seems to be embedded in tacky cinema culture's exploitation of such an element, but surely they used it because it was magical, and not because it's become "magical". or what. hear.

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