To die in your nineteenth year is a tragedy whatever the circumstances.
For it to happen to a composer of exceptional promise is the more tragic
for the art he was to serve. Juan Crisóstomo de Arriaga was born
to the day 50 years after Mozart, and proceeded to show a similar gift --
although truthfully nobody was or is ever likely to emulate the wondrous
gifts of a Mozart. Arriaga was second fiddle in a string quartet at nine
years of age, and two years later wrote an octet.
The quartets herein were written in one year (1824) in his late teens,
and admirable for musical content and manner of development. It is useless
to speculate what this young composer might have risen to in maturity. Suffice
to accept what he wrote before he died of tubercolosis on 17 January 1826.
Arriaga puts imagination level with craft skills, which is not an original
thought, yet often overlooked in the overall mix that should represent quality.
Each of the twelve movements of the three quartets points to a creative
mind releasing well-ordered sound [listen -- track
7, 2:26-3:21]. Every hearing allows a bit more understanding of a movement,
both pattern and invention.
There would be something amiss if the Arriaga Quartet did less than justice
to Arriaga's music. This is a fine and expansive account of three quartets
that repay the attentions of any music lover.
Copyright © 24 January 2001
Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK
CD INFORMATION - ASV CD DCA 1012
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