Some high school quartet music?

September 27, 2016 at 11:13 PM · Hi, everyone!

I'm in a quartet with some other high school students, and we're looking for some quartet music that we would be able to pull together within 2 months, and record for a competition. We're all pretty capable musicians (relatively speaking), so we're not looking for an easy piece that can be slapped together without much effort. However, we're also looking for a piece that won't be extremely hard to pull off, like Bartok's 6th. Maybe something along the lines of the first movement of Grieg's 1st. (Please, no Haydn or Mozart).

Thanks for the help!

Replies (14)

September 28, 2016 at 01:04 AM · Smetana.

September 28, 2016 at 01:53 AM · One of the Schubert quartets, perhaps?

September 28, 2016 at 02:04 AM · Borodin!

September 28, 2016 at 02:19 AM · it depends on the strengths and weaknesses of your group and the access you have to coaching and rehearsal time, of course,but some ideas: Tchaikovsky Quartet (no. 1), Dvorak American, Beethoven op. 59/3 or op. 95, Shostakovich 8. Also, look up Fischoff program books from previous years online and see what the groups in the junior division played.

September 28, 2016 at 06:07 AM · I'd recommend checking out:

Mendelssohn Op. 80

Beethoven Op. 18, No. 4

Schumann No. 1 in A Minor

Schubert No. 4 in C Major

September 28, 2016 at 11:25 AM · Lydia beat me to it! When I was at a similar stage our quartet studied the first movement of Schubert's A minor quartet, (D804 I think). The whole work is not too challenging technically (apart from some tricky sextuplet passages in the finale) but to play it well is a challenge (as always). Beethoven Op 18 no 4 has also been suggested - probably the least difficult of Op18 overall. And some Haydn if you have a first violin with good technique. Op76 No 2 and some of Op33 from memory. And Op42 is probably Haydn's 'easiest' quartet and is still good music. Mozart - handle with care, as always - I remember the 'Hunt' quartet as being very playable and enjoyable.

September 30, 2016 at 01:22 AM · the "easiest" music is also the most difficult to play well. I'll second Peter's suggestion of Haydn Op 76 and the Hunt. I've been playing for decades and still consider these pieces as a challenge musically as an ensemble in regards to dyanmics, articultion, sounding, phrasing, intonation, etc...

A recent teacher once told me that "Twinkle" is the hardest piece to play well. I agree!

September 30, 2016 at 01:46 AM · No Mozart and Haydn? Ravel then.

September 30, 2016 at 06:07 AM · Classical quartets are beautiful, but I get that high schoolers might want to try some of the rest of the literature. :-)

Good suggestions made thus far. If you're all pretty decent, most of the warhorses are probably fairly accessible.

In addition to the Dvorak American, Dvorak No. 13 (A-flat major) is lovely and commonly-played. The Brahms quartets are great. And if you're all strong players, you could do one of the Beethoven "Razumovsky" quartets for a challenge.

My quartet is doing the Gershwin Lullaby, which is a charming 7-minute-or-so single-movement work with nice parts for every player. You might find it enjoyable to read; it has some tricky bits (like an all-harmonics section) but no fast passages.

October 1, 2016 at 06:01 PM · Something unconventional - Hindemith Acht Stucke. or Glazunov Novelettes (delightful piece). Make the judges scratch their heads.

October 1, 2016 at 07:33 PM · My high school quartet is currently working on the Grieg, as well as the Ravel F Major. It's not as difficult as say, a Shostakovich or Bartok, but it sounds fantastic.

October 1, 2016 at 10:16 PM · I love the Gershwin Lullaby!

October 2, 2016 at 09:46 PM · Don't forget Debussy.

October 3, 2016 at 12:28 AM · If you're game for something fairly new, I really love Jefferson Friedman's String Quartet no.3. It's not an easy piece, but it's a tour de force with a lot in it. I did see it performed by high schoolers. Even if you don't choose to do it, I recommend giving it a full listen. Gripping, intense and beautiful stuff. In a coaching with the composer, he exhorted the kids to push and play right at the very edge of out of control -- at times, it has that kind of risky intensity. At others, it's absolutely pristine and beautiful.

Our Kokopelli
Please support
through your
one-time donation or
sponsorship campaign. is made possible by...

Shar Music

Yamaha V3 Series Violin

Coregami Performal

Metzler Violin Shop

Connolly Music

Corilon Violins

15th International Henryk Wieniawski Violin Competition, Poznań, 8-23 October 2016

Anderson Musical Instrument Insurance

Dimitri Musafia, Master Maker of Violin and Viola Cases


Heifetz International Music Institute

Long Island Violin Shop

Nazareth Gevorkian Violins

Pro-Am Strings

Wangbow Violin Bow Workshop