Auer Quartet, András Keller, Zoltán Gál László Vidovszky: Zwölf Streichquartette, Twelve duos
...Zwölf Streichquartette and Twelve duos: two series consisting of a dozen pieces, separated by a dozen years. Yet it is not this, virtually forgotten type of “packaging” (what else is sold by the dozen these days?) but rather the combination of instruments that connects these pieces. In the case of classical genres, one inevitably thinks of the inexhaustible plethora of series by the old masters, but in the case of string quartets, six would be a more suitable, in any case more perfect number. Here the abundance of movements compensates for the meagreness of the musical material...
About the album
Music publisher: Editio Musica Budapest
Recorded at Phoenix Studio, Hungary (1-12) 15-18/12/2002 and at Hungaroton Studio (13-24) 16-18/01/1989
Recording producer: András Wilheim
Sound engineer: János Bohus (1-12), Ferenc Pécsi (13-24)
Editing: Mária Falvay (1-12), György Jólesz (13-24)
Cover art and design by Meral Yasar based on concept of Gábor Bachman
Portrait photo: István Huszti
Produced by László Gőz
The recording was sponsored by the Ministry of Cultural Heritage, the National Cultural Fund of Hungary and the Artisjus Music Foundation
László Vidovszky: Zwölf Streichquartette (2000)
László Vidovszky: Twelve duos (1987-89)
The album is available in digital form at our retail partners
...between ....and 2000 I mainly wrote pieces for MIDI piano (Etudes for MIDI piano, Loco-Dances, Ady: The black piano etc.), a brand-new but already outdated, untraceable instrument which has practically no literature to speak of, and very little performing experience. After such preliminaries it is understandable that...
...thus most of the pieces are arranged around some manner of playing or mode of expression or composing technique, following the possibilities opened up by this arrangement in an etude-like manner throughout the movement. In this respect there is no notable difference between the two compositions...
...long and short are the same...
... It is primarily to the unresolved diaphony, the tension generated by the duality that the pieces of Twelve duos owe their movement. (The first few compositions were presented under the title Five diaphonies). Consonance here can never be complete, it is undecided whether the two parts are for or against each other. Even in case of live performances it is advisable to have the performers as far apart as possible, keeping them only as close to each other as is absolutely necessary for playing together. In many cases even this diaphony is reduced to something in between monophony and diaphony, to “one and a half” parts, but the two instruments are sounded together throughout the piece, dependent upon each other even in the intervals.
The opposite is true in the case of the string quartets: it is the reduction of quadrophony that prevails. All the quartets are somehow less than the complexity offered by traditional string quartets, though all four performers play simultaneously practically all the time...
...in the case of both series the number twelve is the result of the pieces rounding off, and not a kind of stylization or homage....
...the premiere took place on October 8th 1989 at the Academy of Music in Budapest, as part of a concert consisting of first performances of my compositions. Just like on the recording, the pieces were performed by András Keller and Zoltán Gál. The premiere of Zwölf Streichquartette took place on a very hot, sunny day, May 5th 2001, at the “Mûcsarnok” in Budapest, also as part of a series of first performances of my pieces. It was performed by the Sopianae String Quartet to whom the piece, indirectly, owes its existence – without their initiative, this composition would never have been written, or at least not in this form...
...at the same time certain incidents are accented, emphasized in both series – like the contrast of sustained and moving notes, or the playing mode traditionally called glissando. In the latter case, however, we cannot speak of a “slide” between two notes, but a certain kind of microtonality, tiny intervals rapidly succeeding each other...
...it is a good thing to devote oneself to the entire song, because what is good is the song and what is not good is not a song...*
* Chandogya-Upanisad 2.1.1
...though the titles may suggest that these are independent compositions, both pieces are cyclic, where the sequence of the movements is set, and all of them must be performed...
...Short and long notes, Phase differences, Canon, Unisono, Pizzicato, Glissando, Tapping, Quickening and fading chords, Part changes, Chords through each other, Crescendo and diminuendo, Arsis thesis...
...my interest in the possibilities of live instrumental music increased. In many cases it was not the notes or the tonality, but the various modes of playing, the rhythm of bow changes for example, that served as the starting point for composing...
Translated by Eszter Molnár
László Vidovszky was born in Békéscsaba on 25 February, 1944. He began his composition studies with Géza Szatmári at the Szeged Conservatory in 1959, and continued them with Ferenc Farkas at the Budapest Academy of Music (1962-67). In 1970-71, he attended courses organised in Paris by the Groupe des Recherches Musicales and the composition classes of Olivier Messianen. In 1970, Vidovszky was co-founder of the Budapest New Music Studio. He has been an active member ever since, both as composer and as performer. He has performed his own compositions in many European countries and introduced many foreign composers into Hungarian musical life.
He taught music theory at the Teachers’ Training College of the Budapest Academy of Music (1972-1984). Since 1984 he has taught at the University of Pécs in Southern Hungary, and since 1999 he has also been a member of the faculty of the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music in Budapest.
1972 Autokoncert – for two players and suspended instruments
1975 Schroeder’s Death – for prepared piano
1979-82 Solo with obligate accompaniment – for optional solo instrument and accompaniment
1979-88 Three-part inventions Nos. I-IV – for three keyboard instruments
1980-81 Narcissus and Echo – opera in one act
1988-96 Studies for MIDI piano (4 books)
1989 Soft Errors – for chamber ensemble
1992 Music for the Hungarian pavilion at Expo ‘92, Seville
1996 Loco Dances – for a pianist and MIDI piano
1996 Endre Ady: The Black Piano – for MIDI piano, harp and
1997 Black Quartet – for percussion instruments
1997 Silly Old Muzak – for one player and computer controlled sound modules 2000 Zwölf Streichquartette
Albeniz-mirage – for piano and CD player
2001 Sonata for violin and radio – for violin and portable radio
2002 Three Hungarians – for piano and string quartet
1974-78 Joint compositions with other composers of the New Music Studio
Music for movie pictures and theatrical events
Audio-visual works and environments
Auer String Quartet
The members of the Auer String Quartet are: Gábor Sipos and Zsuzsanna Berentés – violin, Csaba Gálfi – viola, Ákos Takács – cello. Leopold Auer was one of the most outstanding Hungarian musicians at the beginning of the 20th century. In 1918 he emigrated to the United States, where he became a world famous violin teacher of the Julliard School and the Curtis Institute. The quartet, formed in 1990 by students of the Academy of Music, took up his name. Among their teachers were Sándor Devich, György Kurtág and Ferenc Rados.
The Auer String Quartet took part in the master workshops at the Royal Academy of Music in London between 1991 and 1994, and was highly ranked at several national and international competitions, for example they won first place at the 7th International String Quartet Competition in 1997 presided by Yehudi Menuhin.
In 1996 the Society of Hungarian Musicians awarded them the title The Best Ensemble of the Year, and in 2000 they received the Liszt Award. The quartet is frequently invited to tour and participate in festivals abroad.
András Keller (1960, Budapest) was the student of Dénes Kovács, Ferenc Rados and György Kurtág at the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, and attended several master workshops of Sándor Végh at the Summer Academies of the Mozarteum in Salzburg. He was the leader of the Hungarian State Orchestra between 1983 and 1986, and of the Budapest Festival Orchestra between 1984 and 1991.
He is the first violinist of the Keller String Quartet. In 1990 the quartet won the two most important string quartet competitions: the one in Evian, and the one in Reggio Emilia named after Paolo Borciani. They have won numerous awards with their records, the most prestigious of which have been the German Record Award (which they received five times), the MIDEM Classical Awad, the Premio Abbiati, the Diapason D’or, and the Gramophon Award. Their album Complete String Quartets by Bartók has been elected by music critics among the fifty best chamber music records of the 20th century.
As a soloist he has played in all countries of Europe and many times in Japan. In 2003 he has been invited to the Wiener Festwochen, to the Aldeburgh Festival, to Rome, Cologne, Hannover, Düsseldorf, Paris, Brussels, Geneva and Copenhagen. He debuted as conductor in February this year leading the Orchestre di Padova e Veneto. Recently he conducted with great success the world famous Kremerata Baltica at the Lochenhaus Festival.
Zoltán Gál (1964, Jászberény) started playing the violin at the age of six, then from 1979 he pursued his studies on the viola at the Béla Bartók Conservatory of Budapest. After graduating from the Ferenc Liszt Academy of Music, he was founding member of the Keller String Quartet in 1986. As a soloist he won 2nd place at the International Pál Lukcás Viola Competition in 1984.
In 1995 he received the Liszt Award as the member of the Keller Quartet. With the quartet he regularly plays in the greatest concert halls and festivals of the world, and has toured Japan, Central and South America and New Zealand extensively.