WILLIAM BLANK (b.1957): Satz, Traces, Trakl Lied for Soprano and String Quartet.
Catalogue Number: 06R073
Reference: GEN 16422
Description: Einklang comprises three pieces for string quartet which can be performed individually, but as one large work they form an effective whole, especially as the third, Trakl Lied, draws on material from the first two. Satz is an energetic opening movement, based on a fleeting motif borrowed from Bartók's Concerto for Orchestra, which is elaborated, distorted and expanded out of all recognition by conventional augmentation of the original pitch group, but also through the liberal use of microtonal glissandi and quarter-tones in very dense, dissonant textures. “Traces” is the work's slow movement; ethereal resonances and quarter-tone modulations of the pitches lend a mysterious, dark character to the movement's underlying lyricism. This lyrical vein carries over into the setting of Georg Trakl's “Accord”, with its vivid expressionist imagery which in places vividly recall Stefan George's in the work's Schoenbergian model - 'the air of a different planet' is not so far from 'eternally new suns' in 'more distant heavens', after all. Blank's music, too, with its soaring, expressive vocal line, is clearly indebted to pre-dodecaphonic Schoenberg. The departures from equal temperament in this movement sound more in keeping with the purity of just intonation than the microtonal blurring of harmony in the earlier movements, reflecting the light-filled images and transcendental mood of Trakl's poem. German texts. Barbara Zanichelli (soprano), Quatuor Sine Nomine.