Mugam Sayagi: Music of Franghiz Ali-Zadeh

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Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
After more than 30 years in the new-music trenches, the Kronos Quartet have earned our trust: If they champion an unknown composer's work, it's because the music urgently deserves to be heard. That's certainly the case with Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, a native of the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan whose eloquent music is poised between the Middle East and the modernist West. Kronos's collaboration with Ali-Zadeh dates back more than a decade, and three of her highly original works for the quartet are featured here. From the Western instruments she elicits sounds redolent of Azeri tradition, whether by means of ancient scales or colorful extended techniques. Oasis 1998 ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
After more than 30 years in the new-music trenches, the Kronos Quartet have earned our trust: If they champion an unknown composer's work, it's because the music urgently deserves to be heard. That's certainly the case with Franghiz Ali-Zadeh, a native of the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan whose eloquent music is poised between the Middle East and the modernist West. Kronos's collaboration with Ali-Zadeh dates back more than a decade, and three of her highly original works for the quartet are featured here. From the Western instruments she elicits sounds redolent of Azeri tradition, whether by means of ancient scales or colorful extended techniques. Oasis 1998 begins with the quiet tones of dripping water, suggesting a hallucinated respite from the harsh desert. Indeed, the play between expressive sorrow and luminous illusion is central to this work -- which bears no resemblance to the 19th-century exotica that claimed to portray this region of the world, such as Borodin's In the Steppes of Central Asia. In Ali-Zadeh's Apsheron Quintet 2001 -- for which the composer joins the ensemble on piano -- the interaction between instruments is scintillating and strikingly free. Metaphors of nature and landscape are irresistible, especially in the mysteriously immobile second movement, "Reverse Time." Ali-Zadeh performs solo on her equally evocative Music for Piano 1989, in which a portion of the instrument's register is prepared to rattle like the traditional tar. Finally, the alternately melancholy and aggressive arch of Mugam Sayagi 1993 lays claim explicitly to the complex Azeri style of mugam, which provides material for much of Ali-Zadeh's work. Kronos's long association with the composer allows them an obvious mastery of her idiom, and their fine performances make this one of the most ear-opening discs of new music in recent memory.
Gramophone - Ken Smith
Austere at some times and freely emotive at others, Ali-Zadeh's music reveals a distinctly non-Western voice that has thoroughly digested what the West has to offer. Except, that is, a modernist sense of personal detachment.
The New Yorker - Alex Ross
[A] gorgeous object and one of the best things the quartet has done.

[A] gorgeous object and one of the best things the quartet has done.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 1/11/2005
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • UPC: 075597980424
  • Catalog Number: 79804

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Kronos Quartet Primary Artist, Ensemble, String Quartet
Bonnie Barnett Tamboura
Scott Fraser Synthesizer, Drones
Franghiz Ali-Zadeh Piano
Technical Credits
David Harrington Mastering
Robert Hurwitz Executive Producer
Leslie Ann Jones Engineer
Judith Sherman Producer, Mastering
Janet Cowperthwaite Managing Director
Greg Dubinsky Liner Notes
Ali Dadgar Cover Image
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