Music I (Mostly) Hold Dear: Lerdahl String Quartets, 1-3

December 27, 2014 12:01 AM

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Fred Lerdahl, composer and theorist, has written three string quartets a cycle that are important to the literature for this medium in the 21st century. There is a pedagogic nature to the writing, as the pieces teach you what they are about as they go along, and they are written in spiral form, whereby each successive phrase, and quartet, is an elaboration or development on the previous.

The first quartet is introspective, probing and inquisitive. It begins with the simplest of intervals, as in perfect fifths and major seconds. These intervals gradually become more complex, the density fuller and move to a free chromaticism. The phrases come one after the other generally without a b...

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