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From Hungary To Taiwan / Formosa Quartet

Release Date: 01/04/2019 
Label:  Bridge   Catalog #: 9519  
Composer:  Dana WilsonLei LiangBéla BartókWei-Chieh Lin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Formosa Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This imaginative recording project offers virtuoso treatment of folk music from Hungary and Taiwan, illuminating many aspects of the respective cultures. Winners of both the First Prize and Amadeus Prize at the London International String Competition, the Formosa Quartet was hailed as "spellbinding" by BBC Music Magazine. They have given critically acclaimed performances at the Ravinia Festival, the Caramoor Festival, and many other esteemed venues. Formed in 2002 when the four founding members came together for a concert tour of Taiwan, Formosa Quartet is deeply committed to championing Taiwanese music and promoting the arts in the land of its heritage, as well as exploring diverse and adventurous mediums for string quartet. In Read more 2013 the members of Formosa Quartet founded the annual Formosa Chamber Music Festival, where they continue to serve as artist faculty. Read less

Works on This Recording

Hungarian Folk Songs by Dana Wilson
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Formosa Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: 2008; United States 
Song Recollections by Lei Liang
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Formosa Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: United States 
Quartet for Strings no 4, Sz 91 by Béla Bartók
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Formosa Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1928; Budapest, Hungary 
Taiwanese Folk Songs (5) by Wei-Chieh Lin
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Formosa Quartet
Period: Contemporary 
Written: United States 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Nice performances of interesting music August 6, 2019 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "I really like the selections on this album and the performances. The premise? Not so much. The liner notes state that the quartet wants to explore cultural and geographic diversity. "In this recording, we begin to focus on two of these regions [of the world] by bringing you music born of Hungarian and Taiwanese soil — much in the spirit of Béla Bartók, the ethnomusicological father of us all, and in tribute to our own namesake, the island of Formosa." To me, that's really a stretch -- and one that doesn't need to be made. The four compositions in this release complement and contrast with each other nicely, without having much in common (save the instrumentation). Representing Hungary is Béla Bartók's String Quartet No. 4 and Dana Wilson's "Hungarian Folk Songs." Bartók's 1928 quartet uses his own take on serialism, with extended techniques for the strings. The Formosa Quartet takes on this repertoire standard with relish, infusing the music with vitality and excitement. While Bartók's modernist quartet was far removed from Hungarian folk music, Dana Wilson's 2008 work embraces it. Written for the Formosa Quartet, Wilson embraces not just the melodies, but the sound of Hungarian folk music. The violins especially have the rough-hewn quality of Romani fiddles. My impression is the Formosa Quartet has as much playing this work as I did listening to it. Lei Liang's "song Recollections" is another work written for the quartet. Here the inspiration is the music of the indigenous Taiwanese. It's an engaging work, blending (to my ears) Australian aboriginal drones with Chinese pentatonic scales. "Four Taiwanese Folk Songs" by Wei-Chieh Lin presents four simple and evocative arrangements of music from several Taiwanese populations (native and immigrant). The quartet delivers expressive and beautiful performances of these songs. I liked the overall sound of the Formosa Quartet. Their playing, both individually and collectively, has a bit of an edge. And there's a youthful enthusiasm that runs through the album. And in the end, that's what I liked about the album -- the quality of the performances (and the material). Just not the theme." Report Abuse
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