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Fourth String Quartet
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Fourth String Quartet

28 Mar. 2011 | Format: MP3

£7.99 (VAT included if applicable)
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 19 Aug. 2003
  • Release Date: 28 Mar. 2011
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 31:54
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001F38MPQ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 162,421 in Albums (See Top 100 in Albums)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Ian Boswell on 11 April 2006
Format: Audio CD
Do you simply loathe modern avant-garde compositions? Well do try this! Wisps of melody over a haunting background start the journey. Gradually we are led to a Latvian folk theme. The main body of the work now follows. An energetic and aggressive scherzo is split in two by a slow movement, these three being played without a break. The contrast between the outer sections and the central one is movingly effective. However you will still be unprepared for the final and longest movement, a meditation of eleven and a half minutes of breathe-taking beauty. Consisting largely of high-pitched strings, played quietly but ravishingly, this movement alone makes the CD worth its price. The music has a quality which can only be described as spiritual, even by this atheist reviewer.
The recording quality is excellent, and the standard of performance by the Kronos Quartet is as superb as you would expect from these performers, for whom the piece was commissioned.
Buy this CD without hesitation, you won't be disappointed!
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Yoselovich Boris on 2 April 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I listened to quite a few Peteris Vasks CDs and there is always a second-hand feeling about his music - this has been made many times before,but much better (D.Schostakovich and H.Gorecki, for example).It is always very dramatic,it is always about human suffering,it always aims at universal appeal and there is that moment where a sort of catharsis is supposed to be at some high point towards the end of the piece...but there isn't any.Sentimental dramatism kills it.The same can be said about this Quartet No.4.Is Mr.Vasks really constantly suffering so deeply about universal problems of humanity worldwide("bloodshed and destruction vs love's power and idealism that keep the world in balance" as he puts it himself in his notes for the CD)? I personally don't feel it while listening to his music.It sounds to me like a collection of all kinds of musical means "borrowed" from other composers,but it certainly lacks the author's own unmistakable voice and quality.It's true that P.Vasks belongs to that generation of the Post WWII East European (the former Soviet Union) artists like Alfred Schnittke,Arvo Part,Valentin Silvestrov,Edison Denisov,Sofija Gubaidulina,but it is also true that he never reaches their level.The same I can say about Giya Kancheli,whose music is also greatly overrated.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 12 reviews
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Vasks voices compassion at the end of a brutal century 31 Oct. 2004
By Autonomeus - Published on
Format: Audio CD
The Kronos Quartet continues its devotion to contemporary works by Eastern European composers with this release. Lyrical and elegiac, the 4th String Quartet by Latvian composer Peteris Vasks is a meditation on the brutality and suffering of the 20th century. Commissioned for Kronos, it was first performed in May of 2000.

It is a five-movement work of about 30 minutes, and while not highly original, it has excellent models. Vasks declares that the second and fourth movements, Toccata I and Toccata II, are "in a spirit close to that of Shostakovich's style" -- "aggressive, and at times, ironic." This is a notable departure for Vasks, who is not known for anything dissonant or angry. These movements remind me specifically of Shostakovich's famous 8th Quartet, a work full of rage and sorrow dedicated to "the victims of war and fascism," and thought by many to be an indictment of Stalin as well (recorded by Kronos on BLACK ANGELS -- see my review). The first, third and fifth movements (Elegy, Chorale, and Meditation) are in the style that Vasks is known for, influenced by the "holy minimalism" of Part and Gorecki, with Latvian folksong motifs and romantic gestures that some might find to be overly ripe. He utilizes glissandos, seemingly representing movements up and down between the Earth to Heaven, which echo the powerful works of Sofia Gubaidulina. And Vasks draws on yet another influence -- the climax of the central Chorale parallels the well-known climax of Barber's "Adagio." The closing Meditation, the longest movement at 11:35, features a long, lovely solo for David Harrington's violin. This passage beautifully expresses the feeling of COMPASSION.

Vasks says of his 4th Quartet, "[t]here has been so much bloodshed and destruction, and yet love's power and idealism have helped keep the world in balance." Utilizing the recognizable works by Barber and Shostakovich, both emotionally direct and powerful works, couldn't make more sense. Vasks may not be the most original of contemporary composers, but he knows how to work with existing materials and create music that is accessible and moving.

(Upon listening again, I am not as impressed as I was initially, and so I have changed my rating to three stars. However, many listeners may find this to be quite moving, especially those unfamiliar with Vasks's influences.)

[UPDATED 5/17/13]
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
See the distant light 29 Jan. 2004
By C. L. Crider - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Peteris Vasks was new to us and a chance encounter. Well worth the money. Wonderfully performed and recorded, it soars and urges our emotions through a wide range. Technically sound and marvelous compositions, quite a find!
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
WOW!!!!!! 23 Aug. 2003
By Jacob Goddard - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I saw the Kronos Quartet perform this work in August of 2002 and I was completely BLOWN away. It is a work that is reminiscent of the string quartets of Terry Riley and of Samuel Barber's masterful "Adagio for Strings". I immediately emailed the quartet to see if they were going to release a recording of it and I was told they had one in the works. This is it, and to this day it melts me. The fifth movement, titled "meditation", is especially beautiful. Buy it. See for yourself. You will not regret it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A secret door from Baltic Avenue to Boardwalk 22 Oct. 2007
By Joseph Davis - Published on
Format: Audio CD
Growing up in downtown Winnipeg during the 1950s I was part of hordes of other children, most of them unruly, who had a lot of time on their hands during the long two-month summer holidays which in relative time were actually two centuries long. With the temperature being 95F outside with humidity and squadrons of vicious mosquitoes lurking in the un-mowed grass, the more clever children, like me, spent our time indoors rotting our teeth by consuming chocolate in various forms washed down with uncounted 16 oz. Coca Colas, and playing games like Monopoly. Little did we know that we were being brainwashed into buying into a virulent form of capitalism instead of playing a harmless children's game. The point of all this is that on the Monopoly board the cheapest and most scorned of properties were Mediterranean and Baltic Avenues. Was this fair? I am here to tell you that a lot of the best new classical music is being composed and performed in the Baltic area by Estonian, Latvian and Ukrainian artists. Here is an example. It is Peteris Vasks' String Quartet No. 4 performed by the brilliant and eclectic Kronos Quartet.
This is an amazing work. There are two spiky discordant movements (Toccata I and Toccata II) along with more introspective movements, including the final movement, Meditation, which is one of the most beautiful pieces I have ever heard -strange, nostalgic, and very moving. It takes me to places, other worldly places, better places. Even though I am usually a complaining, cynical, malcontent, fatalistic pseudo-gnostic, listening to the fifth movement (Meditation) somehow gives me hope that all is not lost. Think of it as a message from a better world -one you used to live in and may be able to go back to some day.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Great Work 11 Mar. 2004
By David Zimmer - Published on
Format: Audio CD
I agree with the comments that the release of this CD and the Berg CD separately is very irritating, however I would not want that to take away from the fact that this is a truly great piece of music and a beautiful recording. While it may be somewhat irritating to have to buy a CD with half an hour of music on it, if you are going to do that, I would highly recommend this one.
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