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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good string playing, 28 July 2007
By 
Ivar de Vries (Amsterdam, Netherlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sofia Gubaidulina: String Quartets Nos. 1-3/Trio (Audio CD)
This release is a relative oddity among the many others featuring her music as it simply consists of pure music without any obvious spiritual associations. Nevertheless it all sounds like vintage Gubaidulina, a whole disc devoted to abstract string quartet music may sound a bit one-sided, but there's so much expression and life on offer here that it can make for wholly satisfying listening experience.
The first and longest quartet was written way before the others and has one of those wacky avant-garde ideas where the performers initially sitting together are supposed to gradually move away from each other so at the end they're not playing in the same meter anymore. It has a rather austere atmosphere with lots of pizzicato playing and angular phrases played in unison. The next two quartets were both written in 1987. The second's basic idea is that one or two players hold a note which moves from the initial G to some two octaves higher around which the other players navigate. The third starts off with a lengthy intricate pizzicato section before the bows are taken up to bring matters to an inspired end. The equally inspired Trio has sort of the same idea as the first quartet of initial cooperation between the three voices followed by conflicting impulses.
To me a great disc played expertly by the Danish Quartet. Gubaidulina has since written a fourth quartet which is a bit lost among pieces by other composers on a Kronos Quartet compilation.
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