List of String Quartet Composers
That fascinating resource that is Wikipedia has an entry called List of string quartet composers. It’s a really handy summary of the string quartet output of notable composers. At a glance, the vast majority of the quartets are undeniably forgotten.
Like many Wikipedia entries, of course, the reading of it requires an obbligato salt-shaker. For instance it says Samuel Barber wrote a second string quartet (Op.27 from 1948, no less), which is fiction – he wrote just the one, with the famous ‘Adagio’ . Wikipedia now regarded as an unquestioned authority, this error has now propagated to about a dozen websites. Interesting. And this list doesn’t include Puccini, whose Crisantemi is a popular curiosity item in concert programs.
Nevertheless, this is very useful list. Some tantalizing leads include:
Rimsky-Korsakov, that rather haughty composer of fastidious and polished music, wrote 3 quartets. The Lyric Quartet has recorded some for Meridian.
Edvard Grieg‘s E minor string quartet gets an airing every now and then, but who knew that he finished 2 movements of an incomplete second quartet? Here is an article discussing it. The Chilingirian Quartet has recorded it.
Bernard Herrmann, of Hitchcock movies fame, wrote one string quartet called Echoes. The Fine Arts Quartet has made a recording of it for Naxos.
If any of the above proves to be a find worth drawing attention to, we’ll blog about it.