Metamorphosis is aptly titled, describing the further development of themes and methods employed in Bartók's String Quartet No 4 as they impact on the work of subsequent Hungarian composers.
Bartók's piece has perhaps the most unsettling opening of any string quartet – a discomfiting premonition of the technical challenges ahead, from the furtive prestissimo to the biting pizzicatos of the allegretto, all navigated with sensitivity to the changing moodscape by the Quarteto Casals, before they tackle the dramatic shifts of mood in Ligeti's String Quartet No 1, aka the "Metamorphoses nocturnes" and Kurtág's 12 Microludes for string quartet.
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