Music@Menlo just presented the West Coast Premiere of a recently discovered piece by Dmitri Shostakovich, the Impromptu for Viola and Piano, Op. 31, composed when Shostakovich was 24. The incomparable violist Paul Neubauer was accompanied by Wu Han on piano and the video is now available on youtube. You can also find it along with some additional details here on earsense. Explore


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Julian Johnson - Who Needs Classical Music? Live performance makes visible the outer surface of a largely inward activity. To watch a string quartet perform is to witness a complexity and refinement of interaction that is matched by very few human activities. The exchange between musicians is characterized by a sensitivity, sophistication, and elaboration that articulates the limits of human potential. The interaction heard in the music, and enacted physically in the gestures of the musicians is both intellectual and emotional and something else at the same time. It also has to do with a quality of mutual care, respect, and understanding, with being part of a collective and yet independent. Each part has a particularity, an identity established and simultaneously transcended in its relation to other parts. From this interaction of individual freedom and togetherness arises something that exceeds the limits of the everyday. It is a metaphor for the best and most cherished human activities and characteristics. Julian Johnson, Who Needs Classical Music?
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Mozart, String Quartet in B-flat, K. 458, "Hunt"

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791

String Quartet in B-flat, K. 458, "Hunt", 1784

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart - The Hunt QuartetWhen Mozart completed his six string quartets dedicated to Haydn in 1785, he created six of the finest quartets ever written, absolute touchstones of the genre that have remained at the core of the repertory ever since. These quartets were a quantum leap from Mozart's earlier quartets and, in most estimations, outshine the remaining four quartets that followed. There are several reasons that contributed to the outstanding quality of these six "Haydn" quartets. Mozart met Haydn in person for the first time in 1781 and had multiple occasions to directly experience Haydn's revolutionary Op. 33 quartets that were first published in 1782. It was also during these first years in Vienna when Mozart came into more intimate contact with the music of Bach. Inspired by Haydn's latest musical miracles and armed with newly expanded contrapuntal skills, Mozart determined to write his own new set of quartets primarily in homage to Haydn in the spirit of pure artistic dialog.
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Gypsy Music—River of Fire

EGypsy Music—River of Fire Gypsy music is as unique, exotic and diverse as the Romani that play and perpetuate it, an art and essential cultural expression for which the Gypsies are particularly famous. Centuries of literature make reference to the wild, intoxicating music of Gypsies: passionate, virtuosic, bristling with rhythms and wild intensity almost inseparable from dance and communal music making. Perhaps its most famous variety is Spanish Flamenco music most popularly expressed by the Gipsy Kings. More authentic, and more intense, is the stunning final scene in Latcho Drom featuring the famous gitana singer La Caita with a fierce and nuanced vocalise that vividly harkens right back to the Rajasthani music at the beginning of the film. Explore

Exploring the String Quartet—The First 250 Years

Exploring the String QuartetSince its birth around 1760, the string quartet has maintained a vital and profound hold on composers, players and listeners: it has been the vehicle par excellence for a rich continuum of some of the finest music composed throughout the last 250 years. Across time, nationality, and centuries of changing style, the string quartet has formed the backbone of small ensemble chamber music with a rich lore. Music for the string quartet consistently features lyrical beauty, complex harmony, intense passion, powerful rhythm and elegant formal design. From the most intimate personal expression to the most brilliant virtuosity, from the ancient and otherworldly to edgy grooves of the present day, the string quartet appears to be an infinitely flexible ensemble engaging great composers and performers in one of the richest living traditions of music in all of history. For many, if not most, however, it a rarely encountered “hidden” genre, while historically, culturally, musically, for others, it is the mother lode. Take some time to discover this stunning genre, the heart of the matter. Explore

about earsense
earsense celebrates and explores how music makes "sense" with a focus on the extraordinary genre of chamber music. The centerpiece of earsense is a comprehensive database of chamber music composers, works, events and related media.

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Works 45,270
Works with details 12,890
Composers 4,119
Women Composers 360
Nationalities 96
Audio / Video 30,775
Works with Audio 6,533
Scores (public domain) 6,451
Glossary definitions 783
Program notes 321
Edition Silvertrust notes 493
Lists 27
principal ensembles
String Quartet 11,765
Piano Trio 2,716
String Trio 1,397
Clarinet Trio 385
Piano Quartet 628
Flute Quartet 409
Sax Quartet 216
String Quintet 633
Piano Quintet 746
Clarinet Quintet 245
Wind Quintet 1,060
Brass Quintet 288
String Sextet 205
Violin Sonata 3,681
Cello Sonata 1,193
Viola Sonata 280
Clarinet Sonata 172
Trio Sonata 2,196