1. String Quartet No. 3 (Lift-Tilt-Filter-Split) - Alex Mincek:
This work is articulated with nervous, tense jabs and pops that portray the individuality of each instrument in an almost hyperbolic manner. However, that individuality occasionally - as if by accident - coalesces into a kind of frenetic harmony before ultimately and inevitably falling back into dissonant schizophrenia. It sounds like the entirety of each instrument is being used. One can hear alternate technical methods of bowing the body (for instance) which lends an interesting and unique visceral quality to the piece.
2. Quartettstudie - Wolfgang Rihm:
In a departure from the previous performance this piece is more contemplative - almost hauntingly Romantic in style. There is even consonance to be found in (what appears to be) the "development" section of a traditional Sonata form. Whether or not there is a true "recapitulation" may be debated, however. Like SchÃ¶nberg, this piece rematins true to its classical roots - even if to the average listener it appears hyper-modernistic.
3. On Repetition and Reappearances - David Brynjar Franzson:
The depth of the viola and cello create a subtle, yet almost drunken or dreamlike atmosphere as they weave in and out of consciousness. Dynamically, the most innocent swelling climaxes into a sharp and explosive stab only to recede back into textural night. Perhaps this is where the idea of "reappearances" is derived'¦ culminating here as the spirit of this entire project.
4. Corde Vocale - Felipe Lara:
Apropos of its name, this piece embarks with a lyrical quality like a gypsy wailing with mystical fervor. Accompanying the trembling violins is a low moaning on the part of the cello that almost feels as if imminent danger is present-at-hand. This work by the younger composer Lara fits perfectly with the other as a bookend of extreme virtuosity as well as frank, soulful expressionism.
This entire album is a wonderful sampler of relevant composers that even the relatively uninitiated can appreciate. It is the emotional range and honesty that is conveyed so as the listener never grows bored with mere exercise in radical technique and pure conceptuality. There seems to be a kind of youthful playfulness that can be felt in the entire album that resuscitates a genre that should always remain current in its timelessness and healthy in decadence.