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Posted October 1, 2010
The String Quartet No. 1 is somewhat evocative of both Bartok and Hindemith and is by turns hectic, reserved, intense, spirited, and filled with sections of harried interplay between the members of the quartet. String Quartet No. 2 is also a combination of moods and feelings - again spirited and intense and frenetic in places, but somewhat darker in places too. As for the five pieces, Piece No. 1 (Alla Valse Viennese) comes across as a bit of an unsettling waltz, the melody suggesting something of an unbalanced mental state. Piece No. 2 (Alla Serenata) is rather a slightly atonal serenade, not soothing but strangely enough not unpleasant either. Piece No. 3 (Alla Czeca) is very energetic in the same way that some of Bartok's string quartets are in sections, but there is definite lyricism present here. Piece No. 4 (Alla Tango Milonga) definitely has tango elements and pleasant interplay between the cello and first and second violins. Piece No. 5 (Alla Tarantella) is somewhat of a whirlwind of busyness and repetition.
Normally I shy away from newer classical music, but I was exposed to this CD and found it not unpleasant. This is not to say that I'll be reaching for it as frequently as I reach for my recordings of Beethoven String Quartets, but when I'm in the mood for something like the Bartok String Quartets and am not quite in the mood for Bartok, this recording will certainly fit the bill. An interesting find that will certainly take many listens to really understand and internalize.
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