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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Danish String Quartet, Thomas Ades, Per Norgard, Hans Abrahamsen

An excellent string quartet graces our presence today with three lesser-known yet blockbuster modern works. It is the Danish String Quartet playing Thomas Ades, Per Norgard, Hans Abrahamsen (ECM New Series 2453). Each of the works was written when the respective composer was still relatively young, in his 20s. Each shows a vibrant sonarity and a strong sense of form; each shares a kind of modern, youthful expressive quality that the Danish String Quartet brings out with lyrical care and fine detail.

Thomas Ades' "Arcadiana for string quartet, op. 12" (1994), Per Norgard's "Quartetto Breve, String Quartet No. 1" (1952), and Hans Abrahamsen's "10 Preludes, String Quartet No. 1" (1973), span a fairly vast period of time and yet share a basically tonal but modern coloristic palette, a sense of the lyrically dramatic, a singing quality and a modern choice of widely varying harmonic possibilities.

The Danish String Quartet shows us masterfully coherent readings of the works, a syntactical flowering born of strict attention to the dynamic and coloristic demands of each composer and the quartet's own artistic togetherness of purpose.

It is a tribute to the outstanding artistry of the Danish String Quartet. The performances help us experience directly the subtleties of these works. Very recommended.

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