string chamber literature with subtitles or descriptive names

March 15, 2006 at 07:04 AM · I am on a graduate committee which will grill a prospective cellist on general knowledge. I think that a good question would be to ask her about string chamber literature which has descriptive names and then go further from there asking about style and the role of the cellist in the ensemble, i.e. Smetna string qt.. “from my life”, Janacek “Voces Intimae" (Intimate Voices)” Beethoven, Razumovsky quartets, Scubertt “Trout Quintet” etc. Having played professionally in a string quartet I know quite a few, but would be interested in others knowledge. Don't worry, I will not be mean to this student.

Replies (11)

March 15, 2006 at 07:07 AM · "The Hunt"

"Death and the Maiden"

"Sunrise" the top of my head...that's it ^^U

March 15, 2006 at 11:58 AM · Haydn's "The Joke"

What about Mozart's Haydn Quartets (not really descriptive as they were dedicated to Haydn)

Umm, I think Haydn also did "The Lark"

Dvorak's American and Slavonic quartets as well

March 15, 2006 at 12:08 PM · Several of the Haydn Quartets have nicknames (The Joke, the Sunrise, the Lark), and don't some of the Beethovens and the Mozarts, too? And what about the Beethoven Kreutzer Sonata, and that's all I can think of off the top of my head at this time of morning.

Cheers, Sandy

March 15, 2006 at 03:43 PM · Hi,

Interesting... Here are some pre-coffee morning ones...

From the piano trio repertoire:

Rachmaninov - Trio Élégiaque

Dvorak - Dumky Trio

Beethoven - "Ghost" Trio (low opus 70 something - a little slow this morning...)

Haydn - "Gyspy" Trio

Other works from the repertoire:

Messiaen - Quatuor pour la fin du Temps

Crumb - Vox Balanae (song of the whale)

Crumb - Dark Angels

Of the top of my head this morning, that is the best I can come up with on top of the ones from above.


March 15, 2006 at 03:17 PM · Beethoven - Str 4tet no.10 'Harp', no.11 'Serioso'

Mozart - Str 4tet no.14 'Spring', no.19 'Dissonance'

Schubert - Str 4tet no.12 'Quartettsatz', no.13 'Rosamunde'

Sibelius - Str 4tet 'Voces Intimae'

Janacek - Str 4tet no.1 'Kreutzer Sonata', Violin Concerto 'The Wandering of a Little Soul'

March 16, 2006 at 04:45 AM · Barber "Dover Beach" for voice+st. quartet

Schoenberg Verklarte Nacht

March 16, 2006 at 04:58 AM · I used to ask prospective employees questions I didn't know the answers to too, then look them up later to see how they did.

March 16, 2006 at 06:11 AM · Gee, this is like the Met Opera quiz. Not all of the following are strings only, but they all do have a cello and are chamber music.

Beethoven's "Ghost" trio is Op. 70 #1.

Haydn quartets (a bunch):

"The Frog" Op. 50 # 6 (great piece BTW, seldom played)

"The Horseman" or "Rider" - Op. 74 #3

"The Bird" - Op. 33 #3 (different from the Lark, a bird of a different opus - Op. 64 #5)

"The Joke" - Op. 33 #2

"Fifths" (or "Quinten") - Op 76 #2 (good musicologically) with the Witches minuet, no less

"Emperor" or "Kaiser" (for the 2nd movement) - Op. 76 #3

""Sunrise" - Op. 76 #4

Dvorak Op. 96 quartet - "American"

Why not ask about Agatha (Brahms love interest, I think?) in Brahms' 2nd string sextet (the opening and intermittent first and later second viola figure in the first movement). This piece isn't actually named, however.

"The Village Musicians" (Mozart K. 522) - not sure if this or "A Musical Joke" is the subtitle

There's a terrific Boccherini quintet for guitar and string quartet titled "Retreat of the Night Guard in Madrid". Well, the last movement is terrific (a movement-long crescendo/decrescendo in which at one point the violin imitates a snare drum; sort of like Gottschalk's "Souvenir of Puerto Rico" for piano).

Making your questions harder, funeral march for Anton Rubinstein (end of the loooong 2nd movement of Tchaikovsky's piano trio, good to ask about what the cello is doing in this one).

Also by Tchaikovsky, the string sextet "Souvenir of Florence."

Rachmaninoff"s piano trio is titled "Trio Elegiaque."

Should be fun if she doesn't kill you. :)

March 16, 2006 at 09:37 PM · You could always make up names. No one would know the difference (except those accessing this website). Below is my own modest contribution to this idea:

Nielsen String Quartet #2-1/2, "The Extinguishable"

The Bach "Doo-Wop Mo'Tet"

Haydn Quartet #3,471, "The Next-To-Last"

The Schubert, "Let's Play Doctor" Quintet, written when he was 12 years old.

Beethoven Quartet #17, "But Seriosoly"

Tchaikovsky, "Souvenir of Florence Nightengale"

Debussy, "Bow Sewer"

March 17, 2006 at 02:20 AM · I like your idea Sander.

How about the Symphony no.40 "Its-a-bird-its-a-plane-no-its-Mozart!" by Mozart? (Actually, those words fit with the first theme, try it!)

Or maybe the Dvorak "Krupke" Trio.

The Smetana "Bartered Bride" is funny enough as it is.

March 17, 2006 at 05:39 AM · I think I have enough ideas. Let's call it a day. Thanks for all of the serious posts. Bruce

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