GUSTAVO LEONE (b.1956): String Quartets No. 1 (Beatriz Elena Martinez [soprano]) and No. 2, Una voz, un grito, un lamento for String Quartet, Scenes for String Quartet, Red Quintet for Harp and String Quartet (Marta Liliana Bonilla [harp]), Q-Arte String Quartet.

Catalogue Number: 09P066

Label: Toccata Classics

Reference: TOCC 0168

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Argentine-born, USA-domiciled composer Leone has a readily accessible, modally-inflected tonal style, richly expressive and emotionally communicative. Una voz deals with the subject of human conflict in three linked sections. Persistent repeating ostinato figuration serves to drive home the work's powerfully expressed argument. The first quartet of 1995 includes a vocal part in the second movement - a device that we have seen a few times since 1908. Here, the repeating gestures serve to underline the hallucinatory, dreamlike nature of the poem, by Henri Michaux. The Second (2010), like Una voz opens with harmonics and effects that disguise the underlying tonality of the work - generally less defined than in the other works here - which develops in a series of solos passed around between the instruments. This rhythmically free introductory section is followed by passages of persistently pulsating rhythm alternating with metrically complex material, some of it actually involving an element of aleatoric freedom. Red Quintet also contrasts strongly metrical, dancing material - with percussion effects - reminiscent of Piazzolla's wildly pulsating tangos, with passages of greater rhythmic freedom. Scenes is derived from Leone's chamber opera The Leader, and consists of contrasting episodes of Nymanesque quasi-minimalism and naive lyrical gestures, gently songlike but inconclusive, finally dismissed by strongly rhythmic material related to the opening.


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