Roger Sessions: String Quartet

Roger Sessions: String Quartet

by Columbia University Group for Contemporary Music
     
 

A quick glance at his discography reveals that Roger Sessions' chamber works are seriously under-recorded; while this 2006 Naxos album of works for strings appears to be a welcome addition to a lamentably meager catalog, it is really a reissue of the 1993 release by the Group for Contemporary Music on KochSee more details below

Overview

A quick glance at his discography reveals that Roger Sessions' chamber works are seriously under-recorded; while this 2006 Naxos album of works for strings appears to be a welcome addition to a lamentably meager catalog, it is really a reissue of the 1993 release by the Group for Contemporary Music on Koch International Classics. However, it is absolutely worth having, since the Koch CD is no longer available, and no other ensemble or label has brought as many of Sessions' chamber pieces together in one package. Listeners just beginning to explore his fascinating music may choose to start off with the "String Quartet No. 1 in E minor" (1938), since it bears some interesting resemblances to Beethoven's "String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132," and is a product of Sessions' neo-Classical phase. Even though it is not tonal in the traditional sense (it only touches on key-like areas tangentially, and vaguely implies chromatic modulations in its active developments), this early quartet is not one of Sessions' more advanced dodecaphonic compositions. The other important work on the program, the "Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas and cello" (1958), is more challenging than the comparatively accessible string quartet, yet it is more deeply satisfying, especially so for those with an appreciation for richly expressive and refined twelve-tone music. Sessions' ideas are logical, balanced, and fully integrated in this concentrated serial work, but one comes away from it recalling only the poignant lyricism of its long lines, the beauty of its transparent textures, and the richness of its harmonies. Put simply, this is one of the most eloquent chamber works of the twentieth century, and the vibrant performance by the Group for Contemporary Music is the CD's true high point, not to be missed. The extremely short and muted "Canons (to the memory of Igor Stravinsky) for string quartet" (1971) and the "Six Pieces for Cello" (1966) are less essential fare, though some may find they are needed to clear the air between the two featured works. Koch's audio reproduction is fine, though a cut below the higher standards one associates with Naxos' original recordings.

Read More

Product Details

Release Date:
05/16/2006
Label:
Naxos American
UPC:
0636943926123
catalogNumber:
8559261
Rank:
379520

Tracks

  1. Quintet for 2 violins, 2 violas & cello  - Roger Sessions  -  Columbia University Group for Contemporary Music  - Jenny Douglass
  2. Canons for string quartet, "To the Memory of Igor Stravinsky"  - Roger Sessions  -  Columbia University Group for Contemporary Music
  3. Pieces (6) for cello  - Roger Sessions  - Joshua Gordon
  4. String Quartet No. 1 in E minor  - Roger Sessions  -  Columbia University Group for Contemporary Music

Read More

Album Credits

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >