ALOIS HÁBA (1893-1938): Complete String Quartets - No. 1, Op. 4, No. 2, Op. 7, No. 3, Op. 12, No. 4, Op. 14, No. 5, Op. 15, No. 6, Op. 70, No. 7, Op. 73 "Weihnachtsquartett", No. 8, Op. 76, No. 9, Op. 79, No. 10, Op. 80, No. 11, Op. 87, No. 12, Op. 90, No. 13, Op. 92, No. 14, Op. 94, No. 15, Op. 95, No. 16, Op. 98, 6 Compositions for Six-tone Harmonium or String Quartet, Op. 37, Tagebuch-Notizen, for Speaker and String Quartet, Op. 101.

Catalogue Number: 04I074

Label: Bayer Records

Reference: 100 282-5

Format: CD

Price: $79.98

Description: The quarter-tone quartets are 2-4, 6, 12 and 14. Nos. 5 and 10-11 are sixth-tone and No. 16 fifth-tone. The remaining six are in the traditional tuning system, the First (1919) a big, four-movement piece of 35 minutes, 7-9 possibly due to the crackdown on "formalist" music in Communist Czechoslovakia (although No. 10 comes from the same year as No. 9). A massive booklet includes 18 pages in English (tracing Hába's microtonal musical theories to Liszt and Busoni and his practical experience with microtones in folk singing) which seems quite exhaustive until you see the 39 in German (the French get a page and a half!). The exact opposite of "atonal", Hába's quartets are expressive and even a couple of times infused with the spirit of Czech folk music, while being, in essence, athematic. You don't need to be terribly adventurous to enjoy this corpus, especially if you love the genre of the string quartet. 4 CDs. Stamitz Quartet, Radovan Lukavsky (speaker).


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