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The Arditti Quartet's 40th anniversary album, featuring soprano Claron McFadden.

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To correspond with the Triple CCRMALite concert and symposium this weekend (Oct 26-27, 2014), the Archive of Recorded Sound and Stanford Media Preservation Lab recently worked to digitized and make available a number of historic performances from Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics. These recordings, from the CCRMA Tape Archive (ARS.0037), are now available to stream via the Triple CCRMALite website.    


Peg box of a baryton, Brussels (undated)Divertimento 24o per il pariton [original manuscript, 1766]

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The baryton [pariton] is a bass instrument in the viol family that may be simultaneously bowed and plucked. It features a double set of strings, the upper set gut, for bowing, the lower set metal, for sympathetic vibration and for plucked accompaniment. The metal strings run the length of the neck behind the fingerboard, which is hollowed in the back to allow the left hand to pluck the strings.

Loosely related to the lyra-viol, the baryton likely originated in seventeenth-century England. Its moment in the sun, however, came in ighteenth-century Austria, at the court of the barytonist Prince Nicholas Esterházy, with music supplied in abundance by his ambitious young Kappelmeister, Joseph Haydn.

Title page of the Bonaparte Edition (detail)

Collection complette des quatuors / d'Haydn ; dédiée au Premier Consul Bonaparte
A Paris : Chez Pleyel, auteur et editeur de musique, [1802]

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Goethe described the classical string quartet form as “four rational people conversing,” a type of discourse embodied in the quartets of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert. Haydn, perhaps more than any of his contemporaries, shaped the string quartet into the form we know today, moving away from the typical divertimenti solo with accompaniment, to four equal voices working out thematic material in (often lively) conversation. The complete set of parts featured here is a variant of the first edition of Haydn’s complete string quartets, dedicated to Napoleon Bonaparte, and known as the “Bonaparte Edition,” published by Maison Pleyel in Paris in 1803.