Corigliano¥Friedman

COMPOSERS: Corigliano,Friedman
LABELS: Naxos
ALBUM TITLE: Corigliano,Friedman
WORKS: Corigliano:String Quartet; Snapshot: Circa 1909; A Black November Turkey
Friedman:
PERFORMER: Corigliano Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: 8.55918
It’s rare enough for a string quartet ensemble to take its name from a contemporary composer these days. What makes it all the more striking is that John Corigliano has only written one full-length quartet.

Advertisement

But it’s such an imposing work – one which grows more impressive with each hearing – that the tribute feels hype-free. Here is a composer who can invoke Bartók without inviting unfavourable comparisons. In any case, Corigliano is very much his own man: capable of a Bartókian concentrated intellectual strength, but ultimately a more lyrical thinker, despite all the savagery and acerbity. The dark and sometimes painful emotional content may recall Bartók’s Sixth at times, but the manner is more directly expressive, the elegiac sadness less reined in.

It’s a cogent and moving musical journey, splendidly performed here by the Corigliano Quartet – technically and expressively they’re completely on top of this music.

Advertisement

The same goes for the exquisitely nostalgic Snapshot: Circa 1909, in which lyricism is everything. While Jefferson Friedman’s Second Quartet feels more episodic in comparison, there are some beautiful ideas, and this is clearly a composer who is led by his ear above all – just like his teacher Corigliano. Excellent recordings; highly recommendable.