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Quartet No.3 in G major Op.26 ‘Pastorale, Fantasy and Fugue’

Leo Weiner (b. 1885 - d. 1960)

Kelemen Quartet (photo credit: Tamás Dobos)

Kelemen Quartet (photo credit: Tamás Dobos)

Composer
Leo Weiner (b. 1885 - d. 1960)
Composition Year
1938
Work Movements
1.Pastorale – Allegro amabile - attaca
2.Fantasy – Poco Adagio – attaca
3.Fugue – Vivo e giocoso
Artists
Kelemen Quartet (Barnabás Kelemen, Gábor Homoki [violins], Katalin Kokas [viola], Dóra Kokas [cello])

Programme Note Writer:
© Francis Humphrys

Weiner was an exact contemporary of Kodály and Bartók, but did not follow their path into folk music research, though he was not above using folk tunes in his work. He gained prominence early in his career by winning the Franz Josef Jubilee Prize, which opened the doors of the Vienna, Berlin and Paris conservatories to him. Critics dubbed him the ‘Hungarian Mendelssohn’ on account of his early successes and his music featured in a concert in Paris in 1910 alongside that of Bartók, Kodály and Dohnányi, where they were collectively labeled jeunes barbares. However Weiner’s musical development ignored the mainstreams of twentieth century music and his reputation slowly faded.

In 1908 he joined Bartok as a teacher at the Budapest Academy, rising to Professor of Composition in 1912 and remained there all his working life. Unlike Bartók and Veress he did not feel the need to emigrate.  

His Third Quartet is a triptych juxtaposing three aspects of his style without a break. The introductory Pastorale is a delight with its cheerful lyricism and soft light and clearly owes a debt to the pentatonic turns of phrase from traditional music. The Fantasy glitters with melodic invention and a virtuoso part for the first violin. His respect for the old forms gives us the spectacular final fugue based on a folk theme taken from a bagpipe player. This blends a musette tune and old minstrel refrains with the strict development of the art of fugue, creating an electrifying finale in the manner of Haydn.

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Quartet No.3 in G major Op.26 ‘Pastorale, Fantasy and Fugue’

Composer: Leo Weiner (b. 1885 - d. 1960)
Performance date: Wednesday 3rd July 2013
Venue: St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland

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Composer Leo Weiner (b. 1885 - d. 1960)
Work Title Quartet No.3 in G major Op.26 ‘Pastorale, Fantasy and Fugue’
Composition Year 1938
Work Movements 1.Pastorale – Allegro amabile - attaca
2.Fantasy – Poco Adagio – attaca
3.Fugue – Vivo e giocoso
Artist(s) Kelemen Quartet (Barnabás Kelemen, Gábor Homoki [violins], Katalin Kokas [viola], Dóra Kokas [cello])
Performance Date Wednesday 3rd July 2013
Performance Venue St. Brendan's Church, Bantry, Co Cork, Ireland
Event Coffee Concert
Duration 00:22:14
Recording Engineer Damian Chennells, RTÉ lyric fm
Instrumentation Category String Quartet
Instrumentation 2vn, va, vc
Programme Note Writer © Francis Humphrys

Weiner was an exact contemporary of Kodály and Bartók, but did not follow their path into folk music research, though he was not above using folk tunes in his work. He gained prominence early in his career by winning the Franz Josef Jubilee Prize, which opened the doors of the Vienna, Berlin and Paris conservatories to him. Critics dubbed him the ‘Hungarian Mendelssohn’ on account of his early successes and his music featured in a concert in Paris in 1910 alongside that of Bartók, Kodály and Dohnányi, where they were collectively labeled jeunes barbares. However Weiner’s musical development ignored the mainstreams of twentieth century music and his reputation slowly faded.

In 1908 he joined Bartok as a teacher at the Budapest Academy, rising to Professor of Composition in 1912 and remained there all his working life. Unlike Bartók and Veress he did not feel the need to emigrate.  

His Third Quartet is a triptych juxtaposing three aspects of his style without a break. The introductory Pastorale is a delight with its cheerful lyricism and soft light and clearly owes a debt to the pentatonic turns of phrase from traditional music. The Fantasy glitters with melodic invention and a virtuoso part for the first violin. His respect for the old forms gives us the spectacular final fugue based on a folk theme taken from a bagpipe player. This blends a musette tune and old minstrel refrains with the strict development of the art of fugue, creating an electrifying finale in the manner of Haydn.