Introduction to the String Quartet (Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4)

The string quartet, a combination of two upper voices, one middle and one lower, gives the composer the minimum requirement for fourpart harmony. This idea of a bare minimum has entranced composers from Haydn – who started it all – right through to the present day, and the attention that so many great composers have given the genre has created an almost unrivalled succession of masterful works; Beethoven’s seventeen quartets acting almost as benchmarks, with Schubert, Brahms, Bartók and Shostakovich pitching in too.

In this four-part podcast, Roy Stratford to explores how the string quartet has adapted to changing musical styles and become arguably the most significant and fertile chamber music combination.

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