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Posted November 12, 2013
The Attacca Quartet is a relatively new quartet, which is significant. Because they bring a youthful attitude and energy to Adam's music -- and the works benefit greatly from it.
"John's Book of Alleged Dances" is a wonderful collection of made-up dances. And its a set that should be played with a sense of fun. How can you take movements named "Dogjam" or "Alligator Escalator" otherwise? Yet this is demanding music that only works when played with precision and energy. The Attica pulls it all together, and delivers a winning performance. I won't say this is the definitive performance, but it's pretty darned close.
Also included is Adams' 2008 String Quartet, and the title select, "Fellow Traveler." The latter is a birthday present to Adams' opera collaborator Peter Sellers, and receives its world premier with this release. Although a short work, its unaffected nature and spontaneity makes it an ideal encore piece -- a function it sort of serves in this release.
Posted June 10, 2013
Difficult music to perform, but not quite my cup of tea…
This recording is made up of 3 string quartet works by contemporary composer John Adams. I must confess that I have never really been a fan of Adams symphonic works, but thought I would give this a fair shake. Unfortunately, I heard little to change my opinion of his work.
Perhaps the driving element in all of Adams’ works is rhythm. And the first set of 10 short pieces certainly fits that description. The most approachable of the 10 for me is the 9th piece, “Habanera”. This has melodic elements that I felt comfortable with – not the case with the other short pieces. The next work, “String Quartet – Part 1 and Part 2”, is rhythmic but again there is no melody that stands out, nor any thematic material that I felt I could latch onto. The final piece on the recording, the title track, is very approachable and has a driven melodic theme throughout that anyone in today’s busy world should definitely be able to relate to, almost as if it is a soundtrack for the busyness of the day-to-day working environment.
All of that being said, the music is very difficult to play and the Attacca Quartet is extremely precise and is obviously working very hard to do these works justice. I would very much like to hear them perform pieces from not-so-contemporary composers, as I have a feeling that this quartet would do some amazing Bartok. Unfortunately, I have come to the conclusion that this composer is just not for me. However, those listeners that enjoy his work will likely be captivated by the quality of the performance and music making herein. But if you are not an Adams fan, then stay away.
Posted April 24, 2013
Attacca Quartet are up against some fierce competition in "John's Book of Alleged Dances" (commissioned and premiered by Kronos Quartet), and the String Quartet (written for the St. Lawrence String Quartet). The title track, "Fellow Traveler", is getting its debut recording on this disc (it was written in 2007), and the young musicians in Attacca Quartet breathe fresh new life into all three of these string quartet works. Highly recommended.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.