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The eight string quartets that Malipiero wrote between 1920 and 1964 constitute a major body of Italian chamber music and reflect his successive musical affiliations. The first two form a linked unit and espouse his radical anti-Romanticism in the early 1920s. Nos. 3 and 4 share structural similarities and act as a kind of laboratory for his symphonies of the time. Quartet No. 5 was inspired by Malipiero's theatrical work, whilst No. 6 explores a new-found narrative dimension. With the two late quartets Malipiero moves into a world of chromaticism, where tone-color freedom reaches the apex of imagination and achievement.