David L. Post: String Quartets Nos. 2-4by Hawthorne String Quartet
American composer David Post's (born 1949) background as a cellist and his experience playing string quartets serve him well in his writing for strings. The outstanding characteristics of the four works for string quartet recorded here are the assured fluency and idiomatic mastery of his string writing and his ability to make the ensemble sound fabulous. These pieces were written in a relatively brief span -- between 2000 and 2005 -- but there is a distinct development from the earliest piece, the "Second Quartet," to the latest, the "Fourth." The "Second" is an entirely proficient work in the Hindemithian vein: contrapuntally fastidious, thematically busy, and tightly focused, but without a particularly individual musical personality. The remaining works, "Fantasia on a Virtual Choral" and the "Third Quartet" (2003) and the "Fourth Quartet" (2005), are considerably freer, more distinguished works. The "Fantasia," commissioned by the Terezin Music Foundation, is solidly neo-Romantic in style but it communicates authentic emotional depth and avoids sounding derivative. The "Fourth Quartet" is also a strong piece whose first movement is especially imaginative and evocative. The Hawthorne Quartet, whose members also play in the Boston Symphony, performs with a warmly blended, sweet tone and secure technique, making the most of the harmonic lushness of the scores. The warmth of the recorded sound beautifully suits the Romantic atmosphere of the music.
- Release Date:
- Naxos American
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Back in the '90s, a wonderful series of CDs had been released, focusing on composers whose music was suppressed by the Third Reich. On of the first releases in the series was a disc of string quartets by Pavel Haas and Hans Krasa, performed by Hawthorne String Quartet (now, sadly, out of print). American composer David L. Post has the benefit of this same group recording his string quartets no. 2, 3 and 4, and his piece "Fantasia on a Virtual Choral". The Hawthornes are ideal for these works; they performed the second quartet at a benefit concert in Terezin in 2002, and the Fantasia was commissioned by the Terezin Music Foundation. Post's fourth quartet, 'Three Photographs of Abelardo Morell (2005), was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize in music. Post could not have asked for a better advocate for these tonal, dramatic works. Listenable, yet still challenging.