Hi! My name is John Hood and I live in Perth, Western Australia. I am not a classically trained musician – I’m a blues guitarist and harmonica player. I’m also obsessive about string quartets!
It has often been said that string quartets represent a composer’s most intimate and personal works, a statement with which I wholeheartedly agree. I have quite a few string quartets and wish to put up some thoughts on my collection. As I’m not classically trained, my reviews and writings are not really technical, but will be about the emotional sound of the music, and why I like it. I may refer to other composers who have a similar style.
In terms of style and definitions I have revised my thoughts. For convenience I shall still refer to the period of the 19th century as Romantic, and 1750-1800 as Classical. Sometimes I will refer to works as Modern; but it will be more about the style than the year of composition. It will also depend on the composer and the context. I have limited the use of Contemporary for the 20th century as it doesn’t seem to make sense anymore. There is no coherent style for that period, it’s just too diverse.
To me, music is a place and I find that string quartets have taken me to some beautiful and abstract places. My personal preference is for quartets from Europe, 1900-1950. However I also love other periods and composers from many countries. I’m not so big on the early Classical but I shall still review some!
Each post has an assigned listenability rating. This is not about the quality of the music or performance but more about the level of intensity of the music. Certain people may find some modern quartets a little confronting, whereas I quite enjoy a little dissonance or agitation now and again. I hope this will assist the novice reader especially.
I shall attempt to only review CDs which are still available. Given the state of the record business, this may be a little problematic.
I look forward to people commenting on the music, their own favourite performances and other pertinent topics!
If you would like to contact me personally you can email me here
I also have a website for my other musical life here
PS – Thanks for the proofreading by the redoubtable Kim L Wearne.