The Takács plays Bartok
Bartók composed his six string quartets between the ages of twenty-seven and fifty-eight, and together they tell the story of his compositional life during those years. The First is a hugely ambitious work, opening with a sinuous chromatic fugue and closing with a wildly dancing Presto. The Second starts graceful, grows brutal, and ends in desolation. The Third is the most rigorous and the most gnomic. The Fourth is fast and tough in its outer movements and evocative and even sensual in its central movement. The Fifth is the tightest in its outer movements, the hardest in its central movement, and the sexiest in its slow movements. The Sixth is in four movements held together by a theme of sublimated sorrow, profound resignation, and somber tranquillity.
[Originally published in February, 2005.]