The Music Treasury for 4 August 2019 — Guarneri String Quartet

by | Aug 2, 2019 | Streams and Podcasts | 0 comments

The Summer broadcast time of The Music Treasury on KZSU 90.1 FM remains Sunday, from 19:00 – 21:00 PDT.  You can also listen online at during the broadcast time.

The Music Treasury for Sunday evening, August 4, 2018  7 – 9 PM

Guarneri String Quartet (1964-2009)

The Guarneri Quartet was an American string quartet founded in 1964 at the Marlboro Music School and Festival. It was admired for its rich, warm, complex tone and its bold, dramatic interpretations of the quartet literature, with a particular affinity for the works of Beethoven and Bartók. Through teaching at Harpur College (which became Binghamton University), University of Maryland, Curtis Institute of Music, and at Marlboro, the Guarneri players helped nurture interest in quartet playing for a generation of young musicians. The group’s extensive touring and recording activities, coupled with its outreach efforts to engage audiences, contributed to the rapid growth in the popularity of chamber music during the 1970s and 1980s. The quartet is notable for its longevity: the group performed for 45 years with only one personnel change, when cellist David Soyer retired in 2001 and was replaced by his student Peter Wiley. The Guarneri Quartet disbanded in 2009.

The Guarneris (including original cellist David Soyer) played music together for fun at first, and Steinhardt says the idea of forming a string quartet in the 1960s, when there weren’t that many around, was an improbable dream. Eventually, their impromptu performances became full-fledged concerts at school and elsewhere. As they began spending more time together each year at the Marlboro Music Festival in Vermont, Steinhardt says, the formal establishment of the quartet “just happened.”

But the question the Guarneris are often asked is how they do it — how they’ve spent so many decades working so closely together. Tree says the group never came up with a great answer.

“There are certain things that are quite obvious,” Tree says. “We all have to have respect — mutual respect for each other. And we have to have a certain sameness, I think, of tastes. For example, if there were someone in the group that was just gung-ho on playing very, very experimental, avant-garde music, that could cause a little bit of dissension because that’s an entirely different outlook. I think we all basically agreed on just about everything, except when it came down to the nitty-gritty of rehearsing. And that’s when that question of mutual respect comes into play and it becomes very important.

The Music Treasury host, Gary Lemco, learned his reviewing trade by attending rehearsals and concerts by the Guarneri Quartet while he attended SUNY Binghamton, 1964-1968 and 1970-1975.   Tonight’s broadcast features a rare recording from 1973 of Rudolf Serkin joining the Quartet in playing the Dvorak Piano Quintet.

Mozart: String Quartet No. 17 in B-flat Major, K. 458 “Hunt”                        21:13
Schubert: String Quartet-movement in C Minor, D. 703                                  6:23
Bartok: String Quartet No. 6, Sz. 114                                                                 27:00
Tchaikovsky: Sextet in D Minor, Op. 70 “Souvenir de Florence”: excerpt     11:05
Dvorak: Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Minor, Op. 81 (w/R. Serkin)                       38:00



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