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CD Spotlight

RICH AND RARE SONORITIES

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'... a pleasure beyond expectation.'

Quartets from Catalonia -
with ROBERT ANDERSON

 

For some reason I had expected the quartets on this CD to be by contemporaries of Arriaga, perhaps some gifted monks from the heights of Monsalvat, or a series of 'cello' quartets to follow Mozart's, inspired this time by the magisterial skill of Casals. Far from it. Josep Soler, the oldest of the composers, was born in 1935, and his two pupils, Sardà and Roger, in 1943 and 1954. That fine city, Barcelona, has been their headquarters, but their inspiration is eclectic. Soler is the most closely linked to the mainstream European tradition that reached some sort of logical conclusion in the Second Viennese School. Sardà absorbed what Darmstadt had to give in 1972, while Roger has achieved a commendable freedom from the academic disciplines he teaches. There is not a whiff of Catalonia in this music; it is pan-European, technically masterful and ingenious, demanding to play but fascinating to hear, exploiting as it does a cornucopia of rich and rare sonorities.

Catalan works for string quartet. Kreutzer Quartet (c) 2000 David Lefeber, Metier Sound and Vision

All four quartets restrict themselves to one continuous movement. Paradoxically the most approachable is the most recent, Soler's Fifth Quartet (1995). The reason is not far to seek and is apparent from the opening bars [listen -- track 4, 0:00-1:00]. The clear reference is to the 'Heiliger Dankgesang' in Beethoven's A minor Quartet opus 132.

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Copyright © 15 April 2001 Robert Anderson, London, UK

 

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CD INFORMATION - METIER MSV CD92026

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