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Armida Quartett|Armida Quartett: Fuga Magna

Armida Quartett: Fuga Magna

Armida Quartett

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Armida Quartet’s “seven-league-boot” journey across the realm of fugue begins with the two earliest published German works in the genre for instrumental ensemble from the year 1602 by baroque German composer Valentin Hausmann (1560-1614). Haussmann’s Fugae are written “for all kinds of instruments”: idiomatic passagework for violin is thus entirely absent here, and only emerged as a stylistic trait in the course of the 17th century. Alessandro Scarlatti is the composer of four sonatas that are to be performed senza cembalo, as he specifies, and which are often referred to as the first string quartets. The animated movements are complex counterpoint constructions; the middle movements are tortuous harmonic meanders of great interest. Johann Sebastian Bach’s last cycle of compositions, which remained unfinished, is the Art of Fugue, a masterpiece that crowned a 500-year tradition as well as his own life achievement. The cycle was unquestionably intended for keyboard instruments; nevertheless, already in the 18th century it was likewise played on string instruments. Such performances do not deprive the work of any of its substance, since, in Art of Fugue (as opposed to the fugues in his concertos and sonatas), Bach eschewed any type of idiomatic writing associated with a particular instrument. The quartet sonata by Bach’s pupil Johann Gottlieb Goldberg is one of the finest examples of the undiminished vitality proven by Late Baroque fugue artistry immediately prior to its “demystification”: a firework display of the mind and of the fingers. For unknown reasons, Mozart composed a very complex Fugue in C Minor for two pianos in 1783; then1788, when he was preparing a string quartet arrangement thereof to be published by Hoffmeister, he added an Adagio introduction. Finally, as regards Beethovens Grosse Fuge written in 1826 and initially meant to become the last movement of his Thirteenth string quartet – it was eventually discarded because of the intense difficulty for both listeners and interpreters and became a piece of its own –, are viewer wrote (when the finale was still said fugue): “The critic does not dare to interpret the meaning behind the fugue finale: to him it was incomprehensible, like Chinese… Perhaps, if the master could actually hear his own creations, some passages might have been written differently. We should not condemn this work too prematurely, however: a time may come when that which at first seemed murky and convoluted will be hailed as clear and pleasant in all of its forms.” And he was right, even though the piece remains, even nowadays, a rather complex attention test for any listener. Winning the ARD International Competition in 2012 (also taking the audience prize and six other special prizes) propelled the Armida Quartet on to the international concert platform. Between 2014-16 the Quartet participated on the UK’s BBC New Generation Artists scheme affording them many concerts broadcast across the BBC network including their BBC Proms debut. Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie nominated the Quartet on to the European Concert Hall Organisation Rising Stars-Series during the 2016/2017 season.

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Armida Quartett: Fuga Magna

Armida Quartett

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Fuga (Valentin Haussmann)

1
Fuga prima
00:04:53

Armida Quartett, Primary - Valentin Haussmann, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

2
Fuga seconda
00:02:27

Armida Quartett, Primary - Valentin Haussmann, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

Sonata A Quattro (Alessandro Scarlatti)

3
Sonata a quattro No. 4: I. Largo
00:03:22

Armida Quartett, Primary - Alessandro Scarlatti, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

4
Sonata a quattro No. 4: II. Grave
00:01:30

Armida Quartett, Primary - Alessandro Scarlatti, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

5
Sonata a quattro No. 4: III. Allegro - Allegro - Minuet
00:02:11

Armida Quartett, Primary - Alessandro Scarlatti, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080 (Johann Sebastian Bach)

6
The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080: Contrapunctus I
00:03:26

Armida Quartett, Primary - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

7
The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080: Contrapunctus IV
00:03:02

Armida Quartett, Primary - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

8
The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080: Contrapunctus XI
00:04:15

Armida Quartett, Primary - Johann Sebastian Bach, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

Sonata in C minor (Johann Gottlieb Goldberg)

9
Sonata in C Minor, DürG 14: I. Largo
00:02:52

Armida Quartett, Primary - Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

10
Sonata in C Minor, DürG 14: II. Fuga. Allegro moderato
00:03:18

Armida Quartett, Primary - Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

11
Sonata in C Minor, DürG 14: III. Grave
00:01:48

Armida Quartett, Primary - Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

12
Sonata in C Minor, DürG 14: IV. Giga
00:04:36

Armida Quartett, Primary - Johann Gottlieb Goldberg, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

Adagio and Fugue for String Quartet in C, K. 546 (Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)

13
Adagio in C Minor, K. 546
00:02:58

Armida Quartett, Primary - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

14
Fugue in C Minor, K. 546
00:03:24

Armida Quartett, Primary - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

Great Fugue in B-Flat Major, Op. 133 (Ludwig van Beethoven)

15
The Great Fugue in B-Flat Major, Op. 133
00:14:31

Armida Quartett, Primary - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

2017 Avi-Service for music Avi-Service for music 2017

Album Description

Armida Quartet’s “seven-league-boot” journey across the realm of fugue begins with the two earliest published German works in the genre for instrumental ensemble from the year 1602 by baroque German composer Valentin Hausmann (1560-1614). Haussmann’s Fugae are written “for all kinds of instruments”: idiomatic passagework for violin is thus entirely absent here, and only emerged as a stylistic trait in the course of the 17th century. Alessandro Scarlatti is the composer of four sonatas that are to be performed senza cembalo, as he specifies, and which are often referred to as the first string quartets. The animated movements are complex counterpoint constructions; the middle movements are tortuous harmonic meanders of great interest. Johann Sebastian Bach’s last cycle of compositions, which remained unfinished, is the Art of Fugue, a masterpiece that crowned a 500-year tradition as well as his own life achievement. The cycle was unquestionably intended for keyboard instruments; nevertheless, already in the 18th century it was likewise played on string instruments. Such performances do not deprive the work of any of its substance, since, in Art of Fugue (as opposed to the fugues in his concertos and sonatas), Bach eschewed any type of idiomatic writing associated with a particular instrument. The quartet sonata by Bach’s pupil Johann Gottlieb Goldberg is one of the finest examples of the undiminished vitality proven by Late Baroque fugue artistry immediately prior to its “demystification”: a firework display of the mind and of the fingers. For unknown reasons, Mozart composed a very complex Fugue in C Minor for two pianos in 1783; then1788, when he was preparing a string quartet arrangement thereof to be published by Hoffmeister, he added an Adagio introduction. Finally, as regards Beethovens Grosse Fuge written in 1826 and initially meant to become the last movement of his Thirteenth string quartet – it was eventually discarded because of the intense difficulty for both listeners and interpreters and became a piece of its own –, are viewer wrote (when the finale was still said fugue): “The critic does not dare to interpret the meaning behind the fugue finale: to him it was incomprehensible, like Chinese… Perhaps, if the master could actually hear his own creations, some passages might have been written differently. We should not condemn this work too prematurely, however: a time may come when that which at first seemed murky and convoluted will be hailed as clear and pleasant in all of its forms.” And he was right, even though the piece remains, even nowadays, a rather complex attention test for any listener. Winning the ARD International Competition in 2012 (also taking the audience prize and six other special prizes) propelled the Armida Quartet on to the international concert platform. Between 2014-16 the Quartet participated on the UK’s BBC New Generation Artists scheme affording them many concerts broadcast across the BBC network including their BBC Proms debut. Hamburg’s Elbphilharmonie nominated the Quartet on to the European Concert Hall Organisation Rising Stars-Series during the 2016/2017 season.

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By Armida Quartett

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