Hába Quartett

Alois Hába: Complete String Quartets

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Microtonality is well-established in much contemporary music, but it was an exotic area of study in the early 20th century, with few practitioners. The music of Alois Hába is noteworthy for the extensive use he made of alternate tunings, and the majority of his 16 string quartets are built on unconventional scales, with subdivisions of the octave into third-tone, quarter-tone, fifth-tone, and even sixth-tone systems. While he found inspiration for his tunings and other material in Czech folk music, in much the same way Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály used Hungarian sources, the element of microtonal tuning takes Hába's music to a different level, where his harmonies and melodies are given a startling new dimension of sonorities and expressions. The String Quartet No. 1 (1919) is rather conventional sounding for its time, but most of the works from the String Quartet No. 2, Op. 7, "In Quarter-Tone System" (1920) to the Diary Entries, Op. 101 (1970), explore the possibilities of Hába's advanced researches in microtonality, and give fans of alternative tunings a fascinating body of work to explore. The Hába Quartet recorded the complete string quartets between 2003 and 2006, and the group's astonishing virtuosity and natural affinity for this music make it especially enjoyable, once one gets past its initial strangeness.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 4
1 10:40
2 7:55
3 7:53
4 7:47
String Quartet No. 6, Op. 70, Suite in Quarter-Tone System
5 2:20
6 3:54
7 2:17
String Quartet No. 9, Op. 79
8 3:00
9 3:32
10 2:24
String Quartet No. 15, Op. 95
11 1:23
12 0:32
13 1:22
14 1:00
15 1:18
String Quartet No. 16, Op. 98 in Fifth-Tone System
16 2:21
17 0:42
18 1:39
19 0:46
20 1:04
21 3:39
22 0:54
23 1:13
Tagebuchnotizen (Diary Entries), Op. 101 for string quartet and speaker
24 0:28
25 0:53
26 0:21
27 0:29
28 0:27
29 0:39
30 0:26
31 0:15
32 0:37
blue highlight denotes track pick