- String Quartet No. 1
- String Quartet No. 2
- Testament, for string quartet
Although Tigran Mansurian has turned to the string quartet medium many times in his career, he has preserved only those mature works that reflect his deepest feelings and speak in a private language of mourning and loss. The chief influences behind the "String Quartet No. 1, In memory of David Chandschian" (1983-1984) and the "String Quartet No. 2, In memory of Eduard Chagagortzian" (1984) are evidently the quartets of Bartók and Shostakovich, though Mansurian has developed a quasi-religious strain derived from Armenian composer Komitas, which tends to make his works resemble the late twentieth century music of Arvo Pärt in its harmonic simplicity and chaste modality. The understated performances on this 2005 ECM New Series CD by the Rosamunde Quartet are sensitively attuned to Mansurian's elegiac mood, which is lovingly sustained in the many slow movements. Seekers of conflict or active, energetic music will have to content themselves with the Allegretto and the Agitato of the "String Quartet No. 1," since the tempos of the "String Quartet No. 2" are either Andante or Larghetto, and the short "Testament" (2004), which closes the disc, is Lento throughout, and all these movements are for the most part subdued. With its overcast shadings and dark expressions, this album is best suited for quiet listening and best appreciated by patient listeners. ECM's sound quality is superb.