String Quartets Nos 1 3 & 5
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Much lauded in his lifetime, Walter Piston is remembered chiefly today for his eight Symphonies, the two Violin Concertos and the popular ballet, The Incredible Flutist . This recording presents three of the five string quartets, which range from from th
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accused of being a composer of music that was too academic, piston, always the neoclassicist, wrote music with tight elegant classical structures but with modern language. well, 20th century american musical language anyway. but how piston differed from several american composers of the time is that he was a true neoclassicist. his music was about form not program. these quartets can be placed beside the quartets of mozart and haydn for several comparisons save the musical language of course. if memory serves, it was the liner notes from this cd where piston takes a "well, what can i tell you. these pieces are in sonata form..." kind of approach to explaining his music. no program, no heart wrenching stories, no musical description of nature.
as can be expected from the man who wrote the widely used books of harmony, orchestration, and counterpoint piston wrote music that may have been academic but also very well crafted; modern yet approachable; and yet somehow recognizable as american. these quartets are completely enjoyable. more please :)