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Ben Johnston: String Quartets Nos. 1, 5, and 10
The Kepler Quartet
Ben Johnston: String Quartets Nos. 1, 5, and 10
Genre: Classical
 
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1

This disc, with premiere recordings of Ben Johnston's first, fifth and tenth string quartets, presents his earliest and latest essays in the genre and one from roughly the middle of his output. The three pieces are highly ...  more »

      

CD Details

All Artists: The Kepler Quartet
Title: Ben Johnston: String Quartets Nos. 1, 5, and 10
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: New World Records
Release Date: 1/3/2011
Genre: Classical
Style: Chamber Music
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 093228069324

Synopsis

Product Description
This disc, with premiere recordings of Ben Johnston's first, fifth and tenth string quartets, presents his earliest and latest essays in the genre and one from roughly the middle of his output. The three pieces are highly different from one another in style, technique and expressive intent. Johnston's Nine Variations (1959) manifests his belief in the progressive nature of serialism and embraces it as a satisfying means of creating musical order. There is no theme per se: each of the work's brief sections may be thought of as a transformation of an underlying idea that is never directly stated. String Quartet No. 5 (1979) is one of Johnston's most impressive achievements, music of radical innovation that speaks an expressive and engaging language with a visionary intensity reminiscent of Ives. It is a single-movement variation form based on "Lonesome Valley", an old Appalachian traditional gospel song of unknown authorship. By the time he embarked on String Quartet No. 10 in 1995 his music had evolved yet again. Johnston's use of extended just intonation was a way of revivifying tonal relations in music without lapsing into a nostalgic appropriation of idioms from an earlier era, which has always seemed to him a kind of escapism, and aesthetically negligible. Listening to the tenth quartet, especially on first encounter, we may feel as though we have entered a parallel universe in which Haydn has become a microtonalist with a predilection for complex proportional rhythms. The whole history of Western music flashes before our eyes almost literally so in the last movement but with all the colors different: seasons, decades and centuries all tumble into one another.