ROMANO CRIVICI (b.1953): Mantra for Bass Clarinet and String Quartet, NIGEL WESTLAKE (b.1958): High Tension Wires, ROSS EDWARDS (b.1943): Chorale and Ecstatic Dance, MATTHEW HINDSON (b.1968): Technologic 135, PAUL STANHOPE (b.1969): PhoSpherics for Saxophone and String Quartet.
Catalogue Number: 06P089
Label: ABC Classics
Reference: 476 5039
Description: A refreshing and thoroughly approachable program exploring the kind of unconventional uses to which the string quartet can be put in non-avant garde ways. Westlake's high energy piece, with its driven momentum and syncopated rhythms suggests non-classical idioms without being limited to actually transcribing rock music for the incongruous idiom of the quartet. Edwards typically writes appealing music with modal inflections of south-east Asia and the antipodes, a ritualistic feeling and nature sounds, and these two movements, a chorale with a vaguely 'new spirituality' aesthetic and a lively rustic dance, do not disappoint. Stanhope incorporates a partly improvised saxophone part in a set of variations, gently lyrical and optimistic in mood. Crivici's Mantra adds a bass clarinet to the quartet, also with a degree of improvisation. The piece alternates a strong rhythmic groove with a kind of meditative state, 1960s psychedelia reinterpreted for the modern chamber ensemble! Hindson also draws on non-classical models in three movements in which quasi-vocal, anguished recitatives oppose mechanistic, driven ostinato patterns in a 'humanity versus the machine' dialogue. Margery Smith (sax, bass clarinet), Elektra String Quartet.