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Four American Quartets - Evans, Glass, Antheil, Herrmann / Fine Arts


Release Date: 07/29/2008 
Label:  Naxos   Catalog #: 8559354   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ralph EvansPhilip GlassGeorge AntheilBernard Herrmann
Performer:  Efim BoicoWolfgang LauferYuri GandelsmanRalph Evans
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 2 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Four American string quartets - all vivid and diverse in style.

Here are four string quartets by American composers, all vivid and in diverse styles.

Ralph Evans is the leader of the Fine Arts Quartet. He wrote most of his String Quartet No. 1 in 1966-8 then laid it to one side, only completing it in 1995. It is in four movements of which the first is shot through with determination and irony in a manner that had me thinking of Weigl and Zemlinsky. For all its occasionally spiky energy this is essentially heartfelt tonal writing with a feint dusting of dissonance.

The Glass work may well be familiar if you have heard his orchestral score for Company. It is derived from music he wrote for
Read more Samuel Beckett's prose poem of that name. The four movements are very short and are lit by the usual flight and propulsion. The second and fourth movements are classic chaffing Glass – exciting and ingratiating.

The four movement Antheil work is a surprise. It is very close in style to Dvo?ák in ebullience of expression and in open air poetry. In the last movement there is a spray of wrong-note flavour that assures you that this is not a long lost work by a Bohemian romantic. The effect is very entertaining and appealing. You might think about this as if it had come from the pen of E.J. Moeran but caught in a mood when he wanted to pastiche the Dvo?ák of the American Quartet. That said, the finale has one or two sickle-edged ‘danses macabres’ that also suggest Shostakovich.

Bernard Herrmann's string quartet Echoes began life as a ballet given by the Royal Ballet in 1971. It is in Herrmann's most potently downbeat mood - at first really gloomy and soon dimly but irresistibly lit by English melancholia. It at times naturally prompts thoughts of Psycho and Marnie. There is little sun in this music; clouds scud across gun-metal skies or fill the heavens with the covenant of rain.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International
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Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings no 1 by Ralph Evans
Performer:  Efim Boico (Violin), Wolfgang Laufer (Cello), Yuri Gandelsman (Viola),
Ralph Evans (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Length: 14 Minutes 26 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 2 "Company" by Philip Glass
Performer:  Wolfgang Laufer (Cello), Yuri Gandelsman (Viola), Ralph Evans (Violin),
Efim Boico (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1983; USA 
Length: 8 Minutes 10 Secs. 
3.
Quartet for Strings no 3 by George Antheil
Performer:  Wolfgang Laufer (Cello), Yuri Gandelsman (Viola), Ralph Evans (Violin),
Efim Boico (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1948; USA 
Length: 17 Minutes 33 Secs. 
4.
Echoes by Bernard Herrmann
Performer:  Ralph Evans (Violin), Efim Boico (Violin), Yuri Gandelsman (Viola),
Wolfgang Laufer (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Fine Arts String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1966; USA 
Length: 20 Minutes 10 Secs. 

Sound Samples

String Quartet No. 1: I. Moderato
String Quartet No. 1: II. Andante espressivo
String Quartet No. 1: III. Allegro scherzando
String Quartet No. 2, "Company": I. quarter note = 96
String Quartet No. 2, "Company": II. quarter note = 160
String Quartet No. 2, "Company": III. quarter note = 96
String Quartet No. 2, "Company": IV. quarter note = 160
String Quartet No. 3: I. Allegretto
String Quartet No. 3: II. Largo
String Quartet No. 3: III. Quasi presto (scherzo)
String Quartet No. 3: IV. Allgro giocoso
Echoes

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