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Quartet Choreography / Kreutzer Quartet

Stravinsky / Ligeti / Finnissy / Kreutzer Quartet
Release Date: 06/12/2012 
Label:  Metier   Catalog #: 101  
Composer:  Igor StravinskyWitold LutoslawskiGyörgy LigetiMichael Finnissy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kreutzer String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

One of the foremost British ensembles, the Kreutzer specialises in new music and has already made many recordings for Metier and other labels. This superb film is not only the record of brilliant performances of major modern quartets and fine entertainment, it is also a valuable and rewarding tool for observing how the players of an ensemble communicate and interact, especially in works like that of Lutoslawski which allow performers a degree of choice. Above all it is a demonstration that music very often should be seen as well as heard.

This disc is universal-play (Region 0) and doublesided PAL/NTSC so will play in any country.

playing time: 74.18 (performances)

“This is an important Kreutzer
Read more Quartet production. The performances of all this music are riveting and have captivated listeners who would normally find engagements with some of this music far from easy. Recommended for essential purchase.” – Peter Grahame Woolf (Musical Pointers)

“An apt verdict on the Kreutzer readings is that of veteran music commentator Peter Graham Woolf, He said of Metier's DVD: ‘The performances of all this music are riveting and have captivated listeners who would normally find engagements with some of this music far from easy. Recommended for essential purchase.' Regarding the entire DVD we are informed [by Metier] that it is: 'a valuable and rewarding tool for observing how the players of an ensemble communicate and interact, especially in works like that of Lutoslawski which allow performers a degree of choice.' Statements in the sales pitch are self-evident. “ – Howard Smith (Music & Vision)

Any release spunky enough to embrace Ligeti’s and Finissy’s Second Quartets - not to mention Stravinsky’s Three Pieces and Lutoslawski’s historically important 1964 String Quartet – is OK with me. But ‘Quartet Choreography’ has another agenda, too. In 1942, in his Poetics of Music in the Form of Six Lessons, Stravinsky made an extraordinarily prescient claim: ‘It is not enough to hear music., it must also be seen’, he wrote, ‘An experienced eye follows and judges … the performer’s least gesture. One might conceive the process of performance as the creation of new values … similar to those which arise in the realm of choreography.’

Anyone who’s watched Thelonious Monk’s jabbing fingers play the piano compared to, say, Alfred Brendel’s balletic, curved fingers, knows how directly Monk’s body movements change the sounds we hear. As the Kreutzer Quartets cellist Neil Heyde observes, string quartets work with a similar correlation between sound and movement. Most obviously, the contrast between the ‘slowly unfolding cloud of sound’ at the start of the Ligeti and, to produce it, the quartet’s frenetic ‘unsynchronised physical activity’ suggests there’s a side to quartet-playing that only practitioners themselves can, and do, know about.

‘Quartet Choreography’ lets Joe Public in on the act. These films are edited to mirror something of the composer’s approach to structure but, more significantly, to allow viewers to see the physical interaction between player and instrument. The Meccanismo movement of Ligeti’s piece scuppers any misconception that string players treat their instruments with kid gloves: these moves are brutal, physical, surgically precise. Intriguingly, the Finnissy and Lutoslawski quartets both began from the idea of producing a set of independent parts – Finnissy stuck with it, Lutoslawski didn’t – and now we see how the quartet shifts when a unified group chemistry is no longer the goal. Faces darken, moods change, body language becomes slightly defensive. And Stravinsky was right: we hear these moves, see the sounds differently.

-- Philip Clark, Gramophone
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Works on This Recording

1.
Pieces (3) for String Quartet by Igor Stravinsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kreutzer String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1914; Switzerland 
2.
Quartet for Strings by Witold Lutoslawski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kreutzer String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1964; Poland 
3.
Quartet for Strings no 2 by György Ligeti
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kreutzer String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1968; Vienna, Austria 
4.
Quartet for Strings no 2 by Michael Finnissy
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Kreutzer String Quartet

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