Ben Johnston: String Quartets Nos. 2, 3, 4, & 9

Ben Johnston: String Quartets Nos. 2, 3, 4, & 9

Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Brek Renzelman, Eric Segnitz, Karl Lavine

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Tracklist

  • String Quartet No. 9: Strong, Calm, Slow

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Brek Renzelman, Eric Segnitz, Karl Lavine

    6:21

  • String Quartet No. 9: Fast, Elated

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Eric Segnitz, Brek Renzelman, Karl Lavine

    3:42

  • String Quartet No. 9: Slow, Expressive

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Eric Segnitz, Brek Renzelman, Karl Lavine

    4:11

  • String Quartet No. 9: Vigorous And Defiant

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Eric Segnitz, Brek Renzelman, Karl Lavine

    5:52

  • Crossings: Verging, String Quartet No. 3

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Eric Segnitz, Brek Renzelman, Karl Lavine

    11:10

  • Crossings: The Silence

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Eric Segnitz, Brek Renzelman, Karl Lavine

    1:43

  • Crossings: The Ascent, String Quartet No. 4, Amazing Grace

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Eric Segnitz, Brek Renzelman, Karl Lavine

    10:34

  • String Quartet No. 2 : Light And Quick: With Grace And Humor

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Eric Segnitz, Brek Renzelman, Karl Lavine

    4:36

  • String Quartet No. 2- Intimate, Spacious

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Eric Segnitz, Brek Renzelman, Karl Lavine

    4:59

  • String Quartet No. 2- Extremely Minute And Intense; Not Fast

    Kepler Quartet, Sharan Leventhal, Eric Segnitz, Brek Renzelman, Karl Lavine

    7:34

  • Total playing time

    1:00:46

Album review

“Connoisseurs of American chamber music may already know of Ben Johnston's inventive and witty string quartets, but find their absence on CD quite perplexing. This is music of great integrity, startling vitality, and striking originality, yet it is virtually unknown outside the cult following that has appreciated these ingenious compositions in live performances. Fortunately, the Kepler Quartet has begun recording the cycle of Johnston's 10 string quartets for New World Records, to be issued in three volumes; if this first installment gives any indication of things to come, the whole set will be essential for all of Johnston's admirers to know and own. A cross between homespun American populism and the sophisticated experimentation of the avant-garde, Johnston's music follows in the iconoclastic tradition of Ives, Partch, and Cage, but with its own frank expression, exuberance, and wayward charm; yet it is also accessible to the casual listener in the directness of its material and the clarity of its techniques, no matter how dense the textures or peculiar the tunings may be. The bracing counterpoint, bright diatonic clusters, and expressive microtonality of the String Quartet No. 9 (1988) make it the most immediately appealing selection of the disc, followed in attractive folksiness and quirky moods by the String Quartet No. 3 (1966) and the String Quartet No. 4, "Amazing Grace" (1973), eccentrically grouped together here with a silent track under the heading Crossings. Listeners who like fiercer music may prefer the thornier String Quartet No. 2 (1964), a dense work with gritty dissonances and twisting chromatic lines that sound astonishing in "just" intonation. Taken altogether, the four works on this disc provide a clear outline of Johnston's intriguing methods and brash style; and the Kepler Quartet is so compelling in its performances that these vibrant recordings, supervised by the composer, should be regarded as authoritative. New World's reproduction is clear and crisp in all details, but invitingly resonant and warm as well.”

Album review provided by TiVo. This content is not produced by Primephonic, and any views expressed are the review author’s own.

Record label

Credits

    Released

    2006

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