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Quincy Porter: Complete String Quartets / Potomac Quartet


Release Date: 03/13/2007 
Label:  Albany Records   Catalog #: 918   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven HonigbergTsuna SakamotoSally McLainGeorge Marsh
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This remarkable release of Quincy Porter's nine string quartets (plus a few smaller works for the same forces) should help to establish the composer as a force to be reckoned with in the world of American chamber music. Himself a string player, Porter knew exactly what he was after, and over a period of some three decades (1920s-1950s) he crafted an extremely distinguished body of work. The basic musical language is tonal, liberally peppered with chromaticism--but most importantly the melodic invention throughout these pieces is strikingly memorable, the course of the argument easy to follow. Nos. 8 and 9 are single-movement works, but the rest (with one exception) employ a three-movement, fast-slow-fast pattern and last anywhere from about Read more 12 to 20 minutes.

Deft counterpoint, springy rhythms in fast movements, plenty of textural variety, and singing slow movements characterize all of this music. Porter's disciplined neo-classicism never serves as a cover for inhibition or paucity of invention. At times, particularly in the earlier pieces, you might detect a French influence in the highly polished melodic surfaces, but Porter's style never quite steps over the line into mere imitation. Among the more impressive pieces: the large First Quartet, the Sixth (with its delightful Allegro giocoso finale), and the Seventh (dedicated to Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge). But then, all of them are worthy additions to the quartet repertoire, and they surely would prove easy to program and rewarding to hear in concert.

As with its excellent series of Diamond quartets, the Potomac Quartet deserves great credit for digesting such a large amount of music and presenting it so winningly. There are a couple of moments of rough ensemble, and it strikes me that the tempo contrast between the opening adagio and ensuing allegro moderato of the Fifth Quartet could have been more generously indulged; but it's very hard to find any serious fault with these very enjoyable and communicative performances. The engineering flatters the players, and in particular captures the violins in some very high positions without any scratchiness or glare, a tribute to the group's accuracy of intonation as well. Here is a truly important as well as really appealing release that all serious chamber-music fanciers will want to sample.

--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings no 3 by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1930; USA 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 1 in E minor by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: USA 
Notes: Composition written: USA (1922 - 1923). 
3.
Quartet for Strings no 2 by Quincy Porter
Performer:  George Marsh (Violin), Sally McLain (Violin), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola),
Steven Honigberg (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1925; USA 
4.
In Monasterio by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; USA 
5.
Quartet for Strings no 4 by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1931; USA 
6.
Our Lady of Potchaiv by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; USA 
7.
Scherzo by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1923; USA 
8.
Fugue by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1941; USA 
9.
Quartet for Strings no 5 by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1935; USA 
10.
Quartet for Strings no 6 by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1937; USA 
11.
Quartet for Strings no 7 by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1943; USA 
12.
Quartet for Strings no 8 by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1950; USA 
13.
Quartet for Strings no 9 by Quincy Porter
Performer:  Steven Honigberg (Cello), Tsuna Sakamoto (Viola), Sally McLain (Violin),
George Marsh (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Potomac String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1958; USA 

Sound Samples

String Quartet No. 1: I. Largamente - Allegro
String Quartet No. 1: II. Grave
String Quartet No. 1: III. Allegro molto
String Quartet No. 2: I. Allegro molto
String Quartet No. 2: II. Adagio, non troppo
String Quartet No. 2: III. Allegro
In monasterio: I. Adagio
In monasterio: II. Cantabile
In monasterio: III. Allegro
String Quartet No. 3: I. Allegro
String Quartet No. 3: II. Andante
String Quartet No. 3: III. Allegro moderato
String Quartet No. 4: I. Allegro moderato
String Quartet No. 4: II. Lento
String Quartet No. 4: III. Allegro molto
Our Lady of Potchaiv
Scherzo
Fugue
String Quartet No. 5: I. Adagio ma non troppo -
String Quartet No. 5: II. Allegro moderato
String Quartet No. 5: III. Allegro molto
String Quartet No. 6: I. Allegro molto
String Quartet No. 6: II. Adagio
String Quartet No. 6: III. Allegro giocoso
String Quartet No. 7: I. Allegro moderato
String Quartet No. 7: II. Adagio molto
String Quartet No. 7: III. Allegro moderato
String Quartet No. 8
String Quartet No. 9

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