ALEC ROTH (b.1948): String Quartets No. 2, No. 3 “Autumnal” and No. 4 “On Malvern Hills”.
Catalogue Number: 03R071
Reference: NI 6321
Description: Roth has an original, interesting and approachable style. The music is tonal, often with a strongly modal flavor, and with a vivacious rhythmic insistence in the faster movements and a distinct modal contour to the eloquent melodies. This makes perfect sense when you read the composer's biography; he is an authority on gamelan music (which he studied in Indonesia), and frequent collaborator with Indian writer Vikram Seth. So if he sounds a bit like an English-accented answer to Lou Harrison or Terry Riley (with a certain amount of less persistent minimalist process), there's the reason. The combination of other influences - English folksong in the third quartet's use of an earlier John Donne setting, a sultry Milonga in the same work, the subtle (if expected) Elgar references in the fourth, the Haydnesque vivacity and humor of the second - with the drones and insistent dynamism of the music's eastern influences is a beguiling and immensely attractive one. Allegri Quartet.