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Jefferson Friedman: Quartets

Friedman / Chiara String Quartet / Matmos
Release Date: 04/26/2011 
Label:  New Amsterdam   Catalog #: 30   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Jefferson Friedman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chiara String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

"It’s rare to see an ensemble commit so strongly to a young composer that they devote an entire CD to his or her music. Yet the Chiara String Quartet — in residence at Harvard University — commissioned both of these string quartets by Jefferson Friedman, and a listen to this superb CD quickly reveals why... Friedman, a 36-year-old Swampscott native, seems to have mastered all the elements of quartet writing. The Second (1999) begins with furious energy before settling into a slow movement that ranks on a par with Debussy for its rapt, introspective beauty. The finale has hints of Bartok and Shostakovich, though all filtered through Friedman’s unmistakably original voice... The Third Quartet (2005) opens with a brief, unsettling Read more introduction and proceeds to a middle movement of astonishing imaginative breadth: Here is a sequence of shifting moods, textures, and rhythms, all knitted together by the composer’s sure grasp of large-scale form. The third movement, “Epilogue/Lullaby’’ (dedicated to the daughter of Chiara first violinist Rebecca Fischer), is slow and luxuriant, though hints of darkness emerge fitfully throughout." -- David Weininger. The Boston Globe

Jefferson Friedman: Quartets, produced by GRAMMY-winning engineer, Judith Sherman, includes Friedman’s String Quartets Nos. 2 (1999) and 3 (2005), performed by the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello), plus two remixes of the quartets by electronica duo Matmos (Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt). Both quartets, written for and commissioned by the Chiara, reflect the long-standing relationship between the composer and performers. Parts of String Quartet No. 3 directly reflect this: ‘Epilogue/Lullaby’ is dedicated to the birth of a quartet member’s first child, and the love duet in ‘Act’ between the second violin and cello was written at the time of the engagement of those two quartet members. Yet the public response to the quartets is strong. Says The New York Times: “Mr. Friedman’s quartets are finding plenty of performances; they already deserve to be heard as classics of this decade.”

The remixes by Matmos sprang from a more recent musical friendship, which began when Jefferson Friedman created the string arrangements for the duo’s 2006 album, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast (Matador). For Friedman’s album, Matmos responded in kind and contributed two remixes which sample the Chiara’s recordings of String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3. Matmos Remix No. 1 (A Bruit Secret Mix) is an addictive dance track, while Matmos Remix No. 2 (Floor Plan Mix) is an enigmatic and haunting three-dimensional exploration of sound.
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Works on This Recording

1. Quartet for Strings no 3 by Jefferson Friedman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chiara String Quartet
Period: 21st Century 
Written: 2005 
2. Quartet for Strings no 2 by Jefferson Friedman
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Chiara String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1999; USA 

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