WARNING! This blog use pop-up advertisements. Be advised and use Adblock/Ublock if you are allergic.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pēteris Vasks - String Quartet No. 4 (Kronos Quartet)


Composer: Pēteris Vasks
  1. String Quartet No. 4: I. Elegy
  2. String Quartet No. 4: II. Toccata I
  3. String Quartet No. 4: III. Chorale
  4. String Quartet No. 4: IV. Toccata II
  5. String Quartet No. 4: V. Meditation

Kronos Quartet
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Jennifer Culp, cello

Date: 2003
Label: Nonesuch



This is a CD single - an admirable format for its singleness of vision if not always its economy. Similar exemplary ventures have come from NMC and Altarus. The disc also acts as a wondrously complementary accompaniment to the Conifer CD of the first three quartets (75605 51334 2) sporadically still available on Amazon.

This scorching yet solace-filled five movement work was commissioned for the Kronos in 2000 and premiered in Paris. After a first movement of ineffable stillness comes the vitriol-blast of the Shostakovichian Toccata (like the acidic scherzo material in the 11th and 12th symphonies). Without drawing breath, this segues into the expressive ruminations of the Chorale. This is succeeded by the return of the breathless abrasion of the Toccata. The Meditation returns to the quietude of the Elegy with tender singing solo lines from the violin. These sing, Tormis-like, the folksong Who were they who sang? That stratospherically-aspiring melody carries some of the burden of the Finzi Introit. If you like that work and indeed Vasks’ own Violin Concerto you will want this piece too. Among the Vasks fingerprints heard in the two outer movements are slaloming violin lines typical of Penderecki's Threnody (though here infinitely gentler) and of Hovhaness's Fra Angelico.

Notes are by the composer.

In a world fraught with tragedy this meditation on the world's violence and its healingly consolatory songs is not to be missed. Vasks, rather like Urmis Sisask, looks to the heavens and there finds benison and transcendence.

-- Rob Barnett, MusicWeb International

More reviews:


Pēteris Vasks (born 16 April 1946 in Aizpute, Latvia) is a Latvian composer. He trained as a violinist and a double-bass player and played in several Latvian orchestras before entering the State Conservatory in Vilnius in Lithuania to study composition with Valentin Utkin. He started to become known outside Latvia in the 1990s, when Gidon Kremer started championing his works and now is one of the most influential and praised European contemporary composers. Vasks's compositions incorporate archaic, folklore elements from Latvian music with the language of contemporary music.


Kronos Quartet is an American string quartet. The quartet was founded by violinist David Harrington in Seattle, Washington. Since 1978, the quartet has been based in San Francisco, California. Over 900 pieces have been created for the Kronos Quartet, which has a long history of commissioning new works. Kronos covers a very broad range of musical genres: Mexican folk, experimental, pre-classical early music, movie soundtracks, jazz and tango. They have also worked with a variety of global musicians and artists.


FLAC, tracks
Links in comment

1 comment :

  1. Copy Adfly (adf.ly/XXXXXX) or LinkShrink (linkshrink.net/XXXXXX) to your browser's address bar, wait 5 seconds, then click on 'Skip [This] Ad' (or 'Continue') (yellow button, top right).
    If Adfly or LinkShrink ask you to download anything, IGNORE them, only download from file hosting site (mega.nz).
    If you encounter 'Bandwidth Limit Exceeded' problem, try to create a free account on MEGA.