Thursday, July 30, 2020
Jonathan Leshnoff, String Quartets Nos. 3 & 4, Four Dances, Carpe Diem String Quartet
These string quartet works are, understandably, more intimate and perhaps more contemplative and absorbed than the more extroverted orchestral works on the Nashville disk. There is something decidedly Eastern European sounding about much of this--a sort of post-Bartokian, maybe post-Shoskatovichian cast, decidedly Modern enough and motor-sensory at times in its dynamic forward drive. Quartet No 3's finale is a case in point, quite exciting to hear as performed on this program by the Carpe Diem unit. Or check out the second movement of Quartet No. 4 for another kinetic explosion of high interest. Naturally there are contrasting expressions that spell the pace nicely, for example in the third movement of Quartet No. 4.
It is all rather deep in the tradition of the string quartet's post-Beethoven history of increased reflectivity. In that way Leshnoff updates that depth with some originality and great musical intelligence. Rather ravishing music, in an excellent reading. Highly recommended.