Monday, June 29, 2009

Mini-Post Mini-Series Part 4: Quartet Mini-Reviews #2

Quartet Mini-Reviews #2
(...or, what I've heard since Saturday)

* Tina Davidson - Cassandra Sings (1989)
A good combination of background and foreground material propels the music forward. There are very nice contrasting sections of action and repose, featuring soaring cello lines. With roughly two minutes remaining, she makes a bold shift to slow, sustained harmonies that catch the listener's attention better than any bombastic outburst. Simply lovely writing.

* Andrew Waggoner - A Song (Strophic Variations for String Quartet) (1988)
The first 12 seconds or so announce the tenor of the entire work with loud and soft chords in stark contrast. Half way through, this "song" evolves into an exciting, rhythmically-charged romp with frequent starts and stops. Deepening the references to the Rite of Spring, Waggoner even features some large "interrupting" blocks of sound before moving into a more subdued section at 7:30. Things pick up again with about 90 seconds to go as we return to the closing section: driving yet bouyant repeated bow strokes so suitable for strings. This work is a great representative of the exciting, new, satisfying experiences that can be found in contemporary chamber music.

* Eleanor Hovda - Lemniscates (1988)
Eleanor Hovda certainly sets her work apart. The curious, paper-thin texture snuck under my radar for a full 7 minutes while I was browsing! I'll start this one over and report back later.

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