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Euclid Quartet: Breve

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Euclid Quartet: Breve
Euclid Quartet: [l-r] Justin Goldsmith, Luis Enrique Vargas, Jameson Cooper and Aviva Hakanoglu

With every disc they release there always seems to be something new to admire about the Euclid Quartet – South Bend, Indiana’s celebrated string ensemble. There’s the intelligence of their approach to anything they touch, the refreshing interpretation they bring to repertoire, a result of the fact that it almost always speaks to the ensemble in an incredibly distinct way, quite beyond the black dots on staved paper. Both those aspect plus the textural richness and variety [across projects] that they invariably bring to each recording is enormously affecting.

Euclid Quartet: Breve

This 2024 project – so appropriately entitled Breve – not only celebrates the eleven short works contained within in inimitable fashion, but also commemorates the quarter of a century of the quartet in the grand manner. The attractive set invites listeners to undertake an adventure woven into a span of three hundred years through the breathtaking continuum of music, spending an evening – from the 18th to the 21st century dancing and passing the time in the convivial company of works by Mozart, Puccini, Wolf, Shostakovich, Gershwin, Webern, and Piazzolla, as well as Javier Alvarez and Joaquin Turina.

The recording is a wondrous voyage of discovery of variety, and sentiment emotionally delivered with breathtaking virtuosity and a sublime sensitivity to convention and style so elegantly appropriate to each age. Technical mastery abounds. In the seductive whirring of bows on strings con arco and the pungent crackling pizzicato. From Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K546 and others [for instance] to Shostakovich’s puckish Polka, from “The Golden Age”. From the eloquence of Gershwin’s dreamy Lullaby to Webern’s brilliantly and wittily evoked Langsamer Satz and the seductive Four, for Tango by Piazzolla.

Each of the works are shot through with rhythmic interest, and there’s an exhilaration to such a relentless pulse, to so many ground whirling basses. The other animating force here is the narrative of a friendly musical rivalry between the strings, with each force striving – as if in an affable duel – to outdo the other. The result is magical, expressive, highlighting the highly arioso-like effects of individual members of the quartet, which combine to produce a perfectly calibrated communal voice.

Each of the members of the quartet emerges as consort musician and soloist with a uniquely personal voice and the give and take of this beautifully constructed programme is perfectly calibrated. A quiet contender come Awards season, surely.

Deo gratis…

Euclid Quartet plays Astor Piazzolla: Four for Tango

Music – 1. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart [1756-1791]: Adagio and Fugue in C minor, K546; 2. Javier Alvarez [1956-2023]: Metro Chabacano; 3. Giacomo Puccini [1858-1924]: Crisantemi; 4: Hugo Wolf [1860-1903]: Italian Serenade; 5. William Balcom [b 1938]: Graceful Ghost Rag; 6. Dimitri Shostakovich [1906-1975]: Polka from “The Golden Age”; 7. George Gershwin [1898-1937]: Lullaby; 8. Franz Schubert [1797-1828]: Quartettsatz, D703; 9. Anton Webern [1883-1945]: Langsamer Satz; 10. Astor Piazzolla [1921-1992]: Four for Tango; 11. Joaquin Turina [1882-1949]: La Oracion del Torero, Op. 34

Musicians – Euclid Quartet – Jameson Cooper: vn 1; Aviva Hakanoglu: vn 2 [Brendan Shea vn 2 on tracks 2, 9]; Luis Enrique Vargas: va; Justin Goldsmith: vc [Jacqueline Choi vc on tracks 2, 9].

Released – 2024
Label – afinat Records [AF 2401]
[afinat.com]
Runtime – 1:10:31

Based in Milton, Ontario, Canada, Raul is a poet, musician and an accomplished critic whose profound analysis is reinforced by his deep understanding of music, technically as well as historically.

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