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Mayer: String Quartets Nos. 5-7 / Sojka Quartet

Release Date: 11/17/2017 
Label:  Tyxart   Catalog #: 17090  
Composer:  Roland Leistner-Mayer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sojka Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Leistner-Mayer strives for a comprehensible music, without clinging to well-established styles, pandering to nostalgic wishful thinking or paying homage to non-committal postmodernism. “The great inner complexity of the artistic experience does not have to result in greater structural complexity. Quite the opposite: Roland Leistner-Mayer has searched unwaveringly for the simplest and most direct expression of the internal necessities. Through this, he has developed a personal style where vehement attacks and long spun out cantabile lines are always part of a logical implementation of the harmonic plan. Only the musical essence counts; there is no sound for sound’s sake.” (Christoph Schlüren) Roland Leistner-Mayer wrote the string Read more quartets Nos. 5, 6 and 7 (edited and published by Vogt & Fritz, Schweinfurt) between 2014 and 2016. All three are in several sections (four to seven movements) and ca. 25 minutes long. This performance by the Sojka Quartet is the first studio recording of these works. Read less

Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings No. 5, Op. 147 by Roland Leistner-Mayer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sojka Quartet
Quartet for Strings No. 6, Op. 148 "Unbrave Bagatelles (7)" by Roland Leistner-Mayer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sojka Quartet
Quartet for Strings No. 7, Op. 151 "Andante Quartet" by Roland Leistner-Mayer
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Sojka Quartet

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Leistner-Mayer’s Psychotropic Quartets December 23, 2017 By Art Music Lady See All My Reviews "Leistner-Mayer, born in 1945, studied composition with Harald Genzmer and Günter Bialas at the Staatliche Hochschule für Musik in Munich. Among his awards won is a distinction in the Alfredo Casella 1970 competition and third prize in the 1996 Swiss International Competition for Composition. Yet he distinced himself early on, say the liner notes, “from fashionable trends and avant-garde experimentation in favor of a forceful, expressive and authentic diction. Form is for him the result rather than the means of expression…From the time of his early string quartets (Nos. 2 and 3) on, he has occasionally moved towards a Bohemian idiom, similar to Leoš Janá?ek, audible in the rhapsodic themes, eruptive expansion of form, and a tendency to the ‘informal’ which are the main features of his music.” All of which sounds very nice, but none of which actually describes the strangeness of his aesthetic. Listening to the Fifth Quartet’s opening movement, for instance, one is immediately struck by the odd fluttering of the violins, following which the viola and cello play an overlying modal theme; a few bars in, and the fluttering figures seem fair to overwhelm the ongoing musical discourse, although the broader theme keeps trying to break into the conversation. This is truly bizarre, mind-altering music, and even when the fluttering figures dissipate and the broad theme is developed, Leistner-Mayer introduces a pungent, stabbing figure played in a downward plunge by the violins, which suddenly drag the music into strange harmonic territory filled with angst and passion. This is absolutely extraordinary music; I haven’t heard its like anywhere. It then turns out that the stabbing figure is itself developed, with the volume and intensity somewhat ameliorated by a theme in the minor that tries to assert itself and fails. This music speaks of a great internal struggle, a struggle of both mind and spirit (jeez, I’m starting to sound like WGUC now!), which ends abruptly. But the second-movement “Scherzo” is no less intense, no less intricately constructed or moving, the key continually shifting from within the chord positions as the music moves along. A strange pizzicato passage is heard in the middle, followed by a broad theme played on the viola against it. Half the quartet then plays tremolos while the other half (cello and one of the violins) continue to develop the music above it. Yes, there is a certain kinship here to Janá?ek’s quartets, but not as close as the liner notes would have you believe. This music is really “out there,” so speak, pushing the envelope in a strange but wonderful way. Even the slow movement has its quirks. Ostensibly in D minor (or D modal, take your pick), the constant fluidity of the harmony keeps shifting us up and down chromatically as well as shifting us into other keys, including one or two notes in the relative major. In this way, Leistner-Mayer writes music that by definition is “tonal” while in fact it is constantly in a state of flux. The strange passage in this movement beginning at 5:58 is a perfect case in point. The last movement, marked “Poco vivace,” begins as a fairly conventional-sounding piece, but 37 seconds in and it’s already shifting and morphing into something more complex and startling. Nonetheless, this movement, at least, follows a fairly recognizable rhythmic pattern (mostly in 6/8) and so is easier for untrained ears to follow. It’s also not nearly as complex harmonically as the preceding three movements. My general impression of Leistner-Mayer’s music is that it is comprised of musical labyrinths. He seems to run into walls or traps he can’t get out of, yet somehow, miraculously, finds an alternate escape route and takes it, only to find himself in another trap, find another escape route, etc. on through to the end of the piece. Music critic Christoph Schüren is quoted in the booklet as saying that “The great inner complexity of the artistic experience does not have to result in greater structural complexity. Quite the opposite: Roland Leistner-Mayer has searched unwaveringly for the simplest and most direct expression of the internal necessities.” Again, the liner notes are misleading. True, this music isn’t nearly as dense as the tangled scores of a Ligeti, Crumb or Penderecki, but “complexity” isn’t always measured by how many notes you throw in or how dense the musical texture is. Complexity can also come from structurally “simple” building blocks. The music of Thelonious Monk, for instance, is structurally simple compared to most contemporary classical music, yet it is extremely difficult to play properly because the rhythm is continually broken up by stiffish figures that alternate with the swing, and the harmonic progression often moves from simple to complex in the blink of an eye. Similar things may be said for Leistner-Mayer’s scores. --Lynn Rene Bayley, The Art Music Lounge" Report Abuse
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