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LABELS: Auvidis Montaigne
WORKS: String Quartet; String Quartet in due tempi; Cadenza (from Amanda); Widmung; Viola
PERFORMER: Arditti String Quartet
Bruno Maderna began his musical career as a child prodigy on the violin, playing in the cafes and restaurants of Venice. No doubt it was a long way from there to the heady days of serialism in the Darmstadt of the Fifties, but that early experience as a member of the ‘Happy Grossato Company’ stood Maderna in good stead when it came to composing chamber music for strings. And however ‘advanced’ his style became, his music never lost its quality of effulgent lyricism.


The earliest work recorded here is an attractive String Quartet composed under the influence of Maderna’s teacher Malipiero. The wheel comes full circle with the last piece, written a quarter of a century later: a charming serenade for violin and viola in similar neo-classical style. More austere, but perfectly constructed in its unforced circular design, is the String Quartet of 1955, dedicated to Maderna’s friend and colleague Luciano Berio. For the rest, there are mainly solo pieces for violin or viola whose ‘mobile’ construction shows Maderna’s interest in performer choice.


The format of this fine CD by the Arditti Quartet isn’t exactly user-friendly, with the pieces simply strung together in chronological order (and with insufficient gaps between them). But don’t let that put you off: this is a valuable contribution to our knowledge of an unjustly neglected composer. Misha Donat