Not Modern, Just Badly Played Department

George Rochberg’s Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth String Quartets, written for the expert Concord Quartet and thus referred to as the “Concord Quartets,” represented a return to startingly traditional tonality in the dissonantly 12-tone 1970s. Composer Mary Jane Leach tells a story of their premiere:

I was at the premiere of Rochberg’s 4-6th String Quartets at Alice Tully. People’s jaws were dropping right and left. However, the funniest thing happened on the way out – I was walking behind two older women after the concert and one of them said “that group didn’t make nearly as many mistakes as the other modern music groups we’ve heard.”

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