COMPOSERS: Cowell,Dixon,Gubaidulina,Johnson,Mackey,Oswald,Pandit Pran Nath,Sharp
WORKS: Quartet Euphometric; String Quartet No. 2
PERFORMER: Kronos Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 7559-79310-2 DDD
The Kronos Quartet (see feature, page 22) has revolutionised the idea of the string quartet and its repertoire. This disc begins with what sounds like a percussion piece and ends with a vocal setting in Indian classical style — a guest spot for Pandit Pran Nath, tabla and two tamburas (long-necked lutes, one of which is played by Terry Riley). Since the piece was written for the Kronos, it would have been nice to have heard them play it.
The rest covers pretty well anything you can think of, from an arrangement of a Willie Dixon blues to the introspective modernism of Sofia Gubaidulina, embracing more than an orchestral range of sonorities with the help of a few recording tricks. Virtuoso playing and production. None of the music stirs me deeply, but only John Zorn’s corny collage Cat O’Nine Tails is downright embarrassing. Adrian Jack