Special Sub-Topic: The String Quartet
|Which of these classical-era composers wrote the most string quartets?|
Luigi Boccherini. Boccherini wrote over 100, as well as over 120 string quintets! Haydn is next, with over 80 quartets, followed by Mozart, with 23. C.P.E. Bach wrote no string quartets (as far as I know!).
|A bit more modern now... The string quartet was very popular during the 20th century, but which of these composers wrote the fewest?|
Sergei Prokofiev. Prokofiev preferred writing in larger textures: his most famous works include symphonies, concertos and piano sonatas, but he wrote only two string quartets (good though they are!). Shostakovich wrote 15, of which the relentlessly melancholic 8th is the most famous. Bartok wrote six, which have a similar cult following to Shostakovich's. Britten wrote three numbered quartets and a number of other pieces for the medium, although he is more famous for his operas and other vocal works.
|American composer Philip Glass has written five string quartets, three of which have nicknames. Which of the following nicknames have I made up?|
Reich. 'Mishima' and 'Company' were both written for films. 'Buczak' was dedicated to the artist Brian Buczak, who died of AIDS in 1988. 'Reich' is made up! (As far as I know, Glass has never dedicated any music to Steve Reich...)
|Which of these composer-string quartet pairings is wrong?|
Haydn - 'Quartettsatz'. 'Quartettsatz' is the name of an isolated quartet movement by Schubert. 'Dissonance' is the name given to Mozart's Quartet in C major, K.465. Three of Beethoven's string quartets are known as the 'Razumovsky' quartets, Op. 59. Schubert's Quartet No. 14 in D minor is also known as 'Death and the Maiden', since it features material from his song of the same name.
|The composer Paul Hindemith was a member of the Amar Quartet. Which instrument did he play? (Clue: he wrote solo sonatas for it!)|
viola. One of the most famous German composers of the 20th century, Hindemith wrote a lot of music for unusual combinations, including sonatas for horn/piano and double-bass/piano. His most famous compositions are in more traditional forms: they include the opera and symphony 'Mathis der Maler' and the Violin Concerto.
|Now we get to the fill in the blank section! We'll start off fairly simple... In addition to his status as 'Father of the Symphony', who was known as the father of the string quartet?|
Joseph Haydn & Haydn. As previously mentioned, he wrote over 80, and gave the string quartet medium the expressive power which was further developed by Beethoven et al. Haydn's most famous quartets include the 'Emperor', the 'Razor' and the six 'Sun Quartets'.
|Moving forward in time, which late-19th century composer wrote the quartet popularly known as the 'American'?|
Antonin Dvorak & Dvorak. The F major Quartet No. 12 (1893) of Dvorak is his most famous work in the medium. He wrote fourteen string quartets in total.
|Which French composer wrote his only string quartet (in G minor) in 1893?|
Claude Debussy & Debussy. The String Quartet is a relatively early work (Debussy was 31 when it was written), yet points to Debussy's mature period, with its use of whole-tone scales in particular. The Quartet was much admired by Ravel.
|Getting tougher now! Of Shostakovich's fifteen string quartets, which one is his most famous? It is in C minor, and contains three dolorous slow movements framing two frenetic gypsy-dance-like movements.|
8. Hope that wasn't too difficult... The Quartet No. 8 of 1960 was dedicated to "the victims of fascism and war", but it also seems to have had a more personal resonance for the composer - he was reputed to be close to suicide around the time he wrote it.
|Now the final conundrum: the 'Second Viennese School' of Arnold Schoenberg, Anton Webern and Alban Berg published how many pieces named 'String Quartet' in total?|
10 & 8 & eight & ten. Sorry - that was basically a guess question for most of you (it would have been for me, anyway). Here they are: Schoenberg wrote five (1897, 1904-5, 1907-8, 1927, 1936), Webern wrote four (1904, 1905, 1907, 1936-8), and Berg wrote just one (1910). Two of Webern's are little-known works, and so I accept 8 or 10 as answers!
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