Collection: Short Stories

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Cowell,Dixon,Gubaidulina,Johnson,Mackey,Oswald,Pandit Pran Nath,Sharp
LABELS: Nonesuch
WORKS: Quartet Euphometric; String Quartet No. 2
PERFORMER: Kronos Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 7559-79310-2 DDD

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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.

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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