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Blackwood: String Quartets / Pacifica Quartet


Release Date: 03/15/2000 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 50   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Easley Blackwood
Performer:  Kyu-Young KimSimin GanatraBrandon VamosKathryn Lockwood
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 3 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews


The first two string quartets by Chicago-based composer Easley Blackwood (born 1932) typify the atonal yet formally conservative style he cultivated in his 20s. Following a brief Largo introduction, the opening movement of his First Quartet bristles with energetic counterpoint, colored with chordal punctuations that refuse to settle into any particular groove. The Andante con Moto suggests Shostakovich in the Russian composer's twisted nursery rhyme mode, but with bleaker, thicker harmonic motion. The quartet concludes with a rigorous, whirling rondo. Quartet No. 2 is generally a more lyrical work: uncompromising stylistically, to be sure, but rich in dramatic and melodic contrast. Beginning in 1980,
Read more Blackwood abruptly shifted his compositional style toward late-19th-century tonality, as exemplified by his 1998 Third Quartet. In his program notes, Blackwood likens its harmonic syntax to Verdi, Ravel, and Franck. I'm not sure I agree. Blackwood's modulatory patterns are molded toward more austere, less overtly sensual ends. Moreover, there's a sense of freedom and structural pliability here that allows Blackwood's own voice to emerge with more expression and clarity than in his earlier quartets. The Pacifica Quartet, for whom No. 3 was written, must have rehearsed these works with loving care. The wonderful performances are captured in sumptuous sound that embraces rather than overwhelms the listener. A truly distinguished release in every way.

--Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings no 1, Op. 4 by Easley Blackwood
Performer:  Kyu-Young Kim (Violin), Simin Ganatra (Violin), Brandon Vamos (Cello),
Kathryn Lockwood (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1957; USA 
Date of Recording: 1998-99 
Venue:  WFMT Studios, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 16 Minutes 2 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 2, Op. 6 by Easley Blackwood
Performer:  Brandon Vamos (Cello), Kathryn Lockwood (Viola), Kyu-Young Kim (Violin),
Simin Ganatra (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1959; USA 
Date of Recording: 1998-99 
Venue:  WFMT Studios, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 18 Minutes 50 Secs. 
3.
Quartet for Strings no 3, Op. 42 by Easley Blackwood
Performer:  Brandon Vamos (Cello), Kyu-Young Kim (Violin), Simin Ganatra (Violin),
Kathryn Lockwood (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1998; USA 
Date of Recording: 1998-99 
Venue:  WFMT Studios, Chicago, Illinois 
Length: 27 Minutes 54 Secs. 

Sound Samples

String Quartet No. 1, Op. 4: I. Largo
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 4: II. Andante con moto
String Quartet No. 1, Op. 4: III. Presto con fuoco
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 6: I. Moderato
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 6: II. Prestissimo
String Quartet No. 2, Op. 6: III. Molto lento
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 42: I. Allegro moderato
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 42: II. Vivace
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 42: III. Adagio sostenuto
String Quartet No. 3, Op. 42: IV. Allegro deciso

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