ALFREDO ARACIL (b.1954): Música de cámara (String Quartet No. 1), String Quartets No. 2, 3 and 4 "Figura ante el espejo".
Catalogue Number: 07P074
Reference: VRS 2095
Description: The First Quartet, from 1975, is in three movements, all consisting of long, sustained sounds produced with a variety of techniques, separated by silences that are an integral part of the musical flow. The piece feels experimental, the work of a recently Darmstadt-influenced composer exploring the timbral qualities of the ensemble in the most economical, pared-down manner possible. By the 2nd, fifteen years later, dynamics, articulation and harmony play a more significant rôle. The work uses a fragment of Beethoven's Op.130 quartet - quite recognisably presented - as the basis for a series which generates the work's equivocal, unstable harmony, strangely audibly related to the tonality of the original, but functioning totally differently. The 3rd is also serial, the row - a series of intervals forming an irregular, halting ascent - presented at the outset, then again and again embellished by timbral and ornamental variation material, gradually moving the entire ensemble into the highest register. Despite this serial construction, it is the vivid sense of elevation into increasingly rarefied atmosphere and unfiltered light that remain the work's most lasting imagery, not the mathematical precision of its construction. The recent (2010) 4th seems to begin where the previous quartet left off, in a passage of ethereal, floating sounds at extremes of the quartet's register - in fact, a distorted retrograde of the end of the 3rd; this is the first of a succession of 'mirror' events that occur throughout the work's six slow, continuous movements, reflecting sound in silence, and time in circular time, or eternity. Cuarteto Bretón.