Alberto Ginastera - String Quartet No.3, I-II





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Published on Nov 1, 2011

String Quartet No.3 for soprano & string quartet, Op. 40 (1973)

I. Contemplativo ("La música", Juan Ramón Jiménez)
II. Fantástico
III. Amoroso ("Canción de Belisa", Federico García Lorca)
IV. Drammatico ("Morir al sol", Rafael Alberti)
V. Di nuovo contemplativo ("Ocaso", Juan Ramón Jiménez)

Claudia Montiel, soprano

Cuarteto Latinoamericano

Taking a cue from Arnold Schoenberg, who admitted the voice into the medium of the string quartet, Ginastera wrote his Third Quartet in the form of a song cycle for soprano and quartet. Only the second movement is for the instruments alone. In our list of movements, we have given Ginastera's titles, the identity of the poet and name of the poetic work from which the words were drawn, and the incipit of the poem.

Ginastera started work on the quartet shortly after he settled permanently in Geneva. It was commissioned by the Public Library and Chamber Music Society of Dallas, with Benita Valente, soprano, and the Juilliard Quartet. By this time Ginastera had passed through the second style period of his music (marked by much use of the twelve-tone system) and adopted free use of many modernist techniques. This quartet uses aleatory passages, playing on the opposite side of the bridge, indeterminate notes (such as an instruction to play the "highest note possible," slow wobbling wide vibratos, and micro-tonal intervals.

The first movement is delicate and wispy; the soprano alternates between speaking and singing and is told at times to let certain words drop out unvoiced. The scherzo is in a fantastic vein, with disturbed imagery. The third movement is sensuously lyrical. The fourth movement, on the horrors of war, is the most dramatic. In it the soprano must imitate the dog howling for its slain master. The fifth movement regains the mood of the opening section and requires a remarkably sustained final note from the soprano. [allmusic.com]

Art by Jože Tisnikar

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