HA! That’s not funny…

For me, the transition from the Romantic and the contemporary pieces that attempted to instill the music with emotions and meaning back to the Haydn quartets which are driven by absolute music is dissatisfying. I think Mahler and Beethoven would agree with me that absolute music is somehow lacking. While music can have whatever meaning one gives to it because it is interpretive, I could not find a way to give meaning to the quartet. This is just my personal opinion because I played a lot of romantic pieces and like the emotional effect they convey.

I think because it is of the repetitions present in the piece. All four movements had some form of repetition. The repetition seemed inhibitory to the development of the music because you would always have to come back to it, so it does not let the piece roam and go where it may go. Perhaps, that is the intended purpose of the repetitions, but I wanted to hear something more from the pieces in general.

Out of the four movements, the third movement stood out to me the most exactly because of how it resembled the expressive, dark, and emotional qualities that the Romantics portrayed. I found great tension at 1:09, 1:13, and 4:07 when the violins played the two chords. After the dramatic chords, I expected something to follow, but we just went right back to the repetitive sections of the piece. The violins created tension once again at 3:00 by driving up the melody higher in a solo and using minor keys to create discomfort. Lastly, the peaceful ending seemed a little lacking to me.

All in all, I think the idea of a joke may sound neat, but I think it takes away from the piece. I certainly expected the quartet to finish the phrase it started, but it ends after having played only the first of the four parts. So at the end of the day, what you hear is repetition after repetition and then an unfinished phrase.

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