Jack

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COMPOSERS: Jack
LABELS: Deux-Elles
ALBUM TITLE: Jack
WORKS: String Quartet No. 3; String Quartet No. 4; String Quartet No. 5; String Quartet No. 6 (Serenade)
PERFORMER: Arditti Quartet
CATALOGUE NO: DXL 1116
Contemporary British composer

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Adrian Jack’s work not only

encompasses music journalism but

also an academic career and concert

promotion; his MusICA series at the

Institute of Contemporary Arts in

London ran for many years and was

an essential fixture in the capital’s

new music calendar. The fact that

Jack is also a composer has been

somewhat eclipsed by all these other

high profile activities, so it’s very

pleasing to have this recording of

four of his six quartets.

He mostly favours a wellventilated,

expositionary style in

which structural devices are clearly

displayed but at the same time

conveying some elegantly managed

shifts of mood and pace. Often

delicate, occasionally robust but highly listenable throughout, there’s

nothing quite like Jack’s music

in the modern quartet repertoire.

These pieces also benefit from being

offered in a fairly concentrated dose

rather than being scattered across

various concert discs. The recording

(engineered by Tony Faulkner)

is sonically immaculate and the

Arditti deliver a typically empathetic

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performance. Roger Thomas