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Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Robert Paterson, String Quartets 1-3, The Indianapolis Quartet


A number of years ago I came upon the music of Robert Paterson via a release or two, one on the old Musical Heritage Society label, good things and I was always wanting to hear more, though nothing seemed to come my way until now. Today I am glad to speak of one, then later on there is another.

This article presents his String Quartets 1-3 (AMR American Modern Recordings AMR1054). The Indianapolis Quartet takes on the performance responsibilities and they are both sympathetic and enthusiastic, nicely so.

I come here after six listens and working upon the seventh. I kept listening because my listening self had not settled in to a clear vision of what the music was and is. And now it is becoming clear.

All three quartets combine High Modernism with the rhythmic intensity of an ethnically charged world beyond post-understanding, and also a primal tonal radicality, and then references that channel a kind of universal Pan-Western Globality. Does that make sense? Probably not until you listen.

Of the three quartets, they each hang together in ways not exactly like some other quartet you might hear elsewhere--but it has taken me six-seven listens to get there. That means something, that it is not some typically digested  generic item, that it is filled with original twists and turns, and bears attention, giving rewards for all your listening efforts with a set of gemstones, of sparkling elements across a happy beach by the water, so to speak.

These will put a niche into your reach, so to say. It reminds me why I liked the Paterson CDs I found decades ago. Here is one for you if you seek adventure and not a typical thing at all. Bravo 

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