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Tuesday, February 1, 2022

Ruperto Chapi, String Quartets 3 & 4, Cuarteto Latinoamericano


Imagine a comprehensive list of all the composers worthy of the name, all who ever lived whose music survives in one way or another. Would that make a book the size of the old Manhattan phone book? Sure, one way or another. Maybe bigger. And yet music lovers like me wake up every morning assuming they know all that is important in terms of names and schools. But of course there is no true end of knowledge, no matter where you are situated.

So this morning I listen to the music of Ruperto Chapi (1851-1909), specifically his String Quartets 3 & 4 (Sono Luminus DSL-93254) as played with fire and precision by Cuarteto Latinoamericano.

Who was this? Is this?  He was a Spanish national, born in Villena. He established lasting appreciation in Spain for his Zarzuelas, garnering great fame with the 1897 La Revoltosa. He became interested in chamber music towards the end of his life with the advent of his four string quartets beginning in 1903. We have the World Premiere recordings of his third and fourth on today's program and they are substantial and detailed, filled with a post-Romantic Spanish zing perhaps in a kind of Neo-Classical Modernist way, with ,lyrical moments that suggest the kind of dramatics of Zarzuelas without direct reference.

Anyone who like me appreciates the rise of Spanish efflorescence over the last century or so will be quite pleased with these gems, I suspect. By all means give them a listen. Bravo to Cuarteto Latinamericano for bringing us the happy revival of some works that deserve acclaim and renewed attention.

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