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Early Music
     

Early Music

by Kronos Quartet
 
What's interesting about the latest outing from this prolific chamber group is not so much that they've chosen to create string quartet adaptations of music from the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance -- after all, these are folks who have commissioned arrangements of Jimi Hendrix and Bo Diddley, so we've learned not to be shocked -- but rather that they've chosen

Overview

What's interesting about the latest outing from this prolific chamber group is not so much that they've chosen to create string quartet adaptations of music from the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance -- after all, these are folks who have commissioned arrangements of Jimi Hendrix and Bo Diddley, so we've learned not to be shocked -- but rather that they've chosen to juxtapose the works of Machaut, Pérotin and Tye with pieces by John Cage, Moondog and Harry Partch, among other twentieth-century notables. But maybe that shouldn't come as a surprise, either. It certainly makes lovely musical sense: the stark and static beauty of Arvo Pärt's "Psalom" fits perfectly with John Dowland's "Lachrymae Antiquae" (did that man never cheer up?) and John Cage's "Quodlibet" sounds just right next to Pérotin's "Viderunt Omnes." Was Cage poking fun at his composition teachers with a parody of the raw, open harmonies of the twelfth century? If so, the Kronos folks have turned his intent on its ear in a way that he himself would probably have loved. Puckishness, however, is not really on the agenda here: the overriding mood is one of sadness and devotion, as the album's subtitle (Latin for "ancient tears") makes clear. Like most of Kronos' best work, this is dark, lovely, eerie stuff.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/16/1997
Label:
Nonesuch
UPC:
0075597945720
catalogNumber:
79457

Tracks

  1. Messe de Nostre Dame, mass for 4 voices: Kyrie 1
  2. Rachell's Weeping
  3. Langdans efter Byfans Mats
  4. Lachrimae antiquae, for 5 viols/violins & lute (from "Lachrimae")
  5. Psalom, for string quartet
  6. Studies (2) on Ancient Greek Scales, for harmonic canon & bass marimba (from "Intrusions")
  7. Long-Ge, for string quartet
  8. Totem Ancestor, for prepared piano
  9. Messe de Nostre Dame, mass for 4 voices: Kyrie 2
  10. Brudmarsch fra Osta
  11. Using the Apostate Tyrant As His Tool
  12. Synchrony for string quartet (6 other arrangements): No. 2
  13. String Quartet in Four Parts: Quodlibet
  14. Viderunt omnes, organum for 4 voices
  15. Messe de Nostre Dame, mass for 4 voices: Kyrie 3
  16. Fantasy for 4 viols in B flat major, Z. 736
  17. O virtus Sapientiae, antiphon
  18. Uleg-Khem
  19. In Nomine a 5 ("Farwell my good 1. for ever")
  20. Canon in Memoriam Igor Stravinsky, for string quartet: Collected Songs Where Every Verse is Filled with G
  21. Church Bells: Abbey of St. Peter's of Solesmes, France

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