Ali-Zadeh

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Ali-Zadeh
LABELS: Nonesuch
ALBUM TITLE: Ali-Zadeh
WORKS: Oasis; Apsheron Quintet; Music for Piano; Mugam Sayagi
PERFORMER: Franghiz Ali-ZadehKronos Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 7559-79804-3
The Kronos Quartet has always

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presented new and recent music

in ways which make the repertoire

approachable without diluting it.

But the group rather has its work cut

out with this disc, which comprises a

selection of works by the Azerbaijani

composer and pianist Franghiz Ali-

Zadeh, who also contributes to the

recording as a performer.

Despite Ali-Zadeh’s works being

airily described as combining ideas

from Western composition with

traditional Azerbaijani music, this is

not cheesy exotica but sophisticated,

uncompromising stuff of the kind

that might seem more at home in the

repertoire of a hard-line group such

as the Arditti Quartet. While there’s a

fascination to many of the individual

elements – the scattershot pizzicati,

the yearning ethno-modernism of the

more lyrical passages – apprehending

this remarkable music in its entirety is

demanding if very rewarding. And yes,

it does seem odd to need to state this in

a review, yet so much recent music is

neither of the above.

The Quartet champions Ali-

Zadeh’s music and performs it with all

the conviction this implies. Sonically,

the strangely distant, detached feel of

the quieter passages is a slight letdown.

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Roger Thomas