The Hungarian composer Béla Bartók wrote six string quartets, each for the usual forces of two violins, viola and cello. Notable composers who have been influenced by them include Benjamin Britten, particularly in the Sonata in C for Cello and Piano (Rupprecht 1999, 250; Whittall 2013, 189), Elliott Carter, who refers in the opening of his own First String Quartet to Bartók’s Sixth Quartet (Schmidt 2012, 172), Chen Yi (Wong 2007, 237), Edison Denisov, whose Second Quartet is closely related to Bartók’s Fifth Quartet (Čigareva 2007, 231), Franco Donatoni, who was deeply impressed when he heard a broadcast of Bartók's Fourth Quartet (Osmond-Smith 2001), Robert Fripp, who mentions them as an influence upon King Crimson (Tamm n.d.), Miloslav Ištvan (Němcová 2001), György Kurtág, whose Opp. 1 and 28 both owe a great deal to Bartók's quartets (Sallis 2014, passim; Sanderson & ), György Ligeti, whose two string quartets both owe a great deal to Bartók’s quartets (Iddon 2014, passim; Satory 1990, 101–103), Bruno Maderna (Palazzetti 2015, passim), George Perle, who credits the Bartók Fourth and Fifth Quartets as precedents for his use of arrays of chords related to one another by different types of symmetry (Lansky 2001), Walter Piston (Donahue 1964, passim; Manheim n.d.), Kim Dzmitrïyevich Tsesakow (Shcherbakova 2001), Wilfried Westerlinck (Volborth-Danys 2001), Stefan Wolpe, who explained in a public lecture how he had derived ideas from Bartók’s Fourth Quartet (Babbitt n.d.), and Xu Yongsan (Wong 2007, 238).
For information about each quartet, see the following links:
String Quartet No. 1, Op.7, Sz. 40, BB 52
String Quartet No. 2, Op.17, Sz. 67, BB 75
String Quartet No. 3, Sz. 85, BB 93
String Quartet No. 4, Sz. 91, BB 95
String Quartet No. 5, Sz. 102, BB 110
String Quartet No. 6, Sz. 114, BB 119
Key recordings of the complete cycle include:
Emerson String Quartet, Deutsche Grammophon, released 1990.
Juilliard String Quartet:
Recorded 1949, New York. Robert Mann and Robert Koff, violins; Raphael Hillyer, viola; Arthur Winograd, cello. Three LPs, 12 in., monaural. Columbia Masterworks ML 4278/4279/4280.
Recorded May and September, 1963, Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York. Robert Mann and Isidore Cohen, violins; Raphael Hillyer, viola; Claus Adam, cello. Three LPs, 12 in., stereo. Columbia Masterworks D3L 317 (set): ML 6102, 6103, 6104. New York: Columbia Masterworks, 1965.
Recorded 13–23 May 1981, Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York. Robert Mann and Earl Carlyss, violins; Samuel Rhodes, viola; Claus Adam, cello.
Lindsay String Quartet (Anon. n.d.).
Takács Quartet, Decca 289 455 297-2. Released 1998
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