Bryars: String Quartet No. 1; String Quartet No. 2; The Last Days

COMPOSERS: Bryars
LABELS: Argo
WORKS: String Quartet No. 1; String Quartet No. 2; The Last Days
PERFORMER: Balanescu Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 448 175-2 DDD
Gavin Bryars is one of today’s most arresting composers: unashamedly Romantic, wallowing in rich harmonies and textures with always a sideways glance at a mutated French tradition. Two string quartets dating from 1985 and 1990 surround The Last Days (1992), a series of five duos for two violins. The 1985 Quartet is luminously melancholic, graciously tonal, in a recording more characterful than the previous one by the Ardittis. The Balanescu Quartet, particularly its leader, Alexander Balanescu, is ideally suited to this post-Romantic idiom. Annette Morreau

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