Famous for writing, “Who cares if you listen?”* – an essay that reflected on the gulfs between composers listeners, Babbit was one of America’s great composers. He also taught Stephen Sondheim, which is a little hard to guess if you listen to his music. Here’s his second string quartet, which you can follow along with the score.
*Babbit complained of the title, and for good reason, it’s not really an accurate summary of what he says. But the folks at High Fidelity figured it would be more famous with their title. They were right. Babbit wanted to call it, “The Composer as Specialist.”