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The String Quartet in Spain

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Edited By Christiane Heine and Juan Miguel González Martínez

This is the first monograph from a scientific perspective dealing with the String Quartets composed in Spain from the eighteenth century up to the present. It is the outcome of the research and thorough study of specific works, undertaken by twenty-one musicologists, archivers and performers, together with four Spanish composers. It aims both to offer an overview of the current state of research on the primary and secondary sources available, and to trace the history of the genre by examining its genesis, development and reception in the European context. All this fosters an understanding of: (1) the position of the genre in Spain from its emergence until nowadays, (2) its aesthetics and main compositional features in each period, (3) its idiosyncratic peculiarities, and (4) the particular challenges that it has posed along its history. In addition, other goals are: to banish some prejudices about Spanish chamber music, to contribute to the recuperation of a significant part of the Spanish musical heritage, and to provide scholars and performers with the musical sources, aiming at facilitating the knowledge and diffusion of a corpus of noteworthy yet barely known works.

Der Band befasst sich mit der Entwicklung des Streichquartetts in Spanien vom achtzehnten Jahrhundert bis zur Gegenwart. Er enthält 24 Studien zu Komponisten und konkreten Werken aus unterschiedlicher Perspektive und gibt Auskunft über die bis dato lokalisierten Primär- und Sekundärquellen.

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The String Quartets of Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga: Experiments in Form, Harmony, and Counterpoint (Tim S. Pack)

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TIM S. PACK

The String Quartets of Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga: Experiments in Form, Harmony, and Counterpoint

In September 1821, France was in the midst of the Second Restoration, and Louis XVIII, facing strong opposition from several factions, was on the throne in Paris a second time trying to bring back a form of the old regime that would be acceptable to the people. As the country faced a period of economic and political hardship, the Paris Conservatory had shut down and re-opened only five years earlier. In these circumstances, fifteen-year-old prodigy Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga (1806–1826) left his thriving hometown of Bilbao to study at the Paris Conservatory. Despite severe reductions in staffing and student enrollment and the implementation of policies detrimental to foreign students, Arriaga had won second prize in counterpoint and at only seventeen years of age had become the youngest adjunct professor in the institution’s history.1 Between 1823 and 1825, while working as a student and serving as a professor of counterpoint, he composed a book of three String Quartets, an Overture, a Symphony for grand orchestra, a Mass, and other vocal works. A pulmonary infection most likely brought on by exhaustion led to his untimely death on January 16, 1826, which was just eleven days short of his twentieth birthday. Grandemange suspects that the Quartets were composed between October 1823 and early 1825; Philippe Petit published them in Paris in 1824.2

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