LIGETI String Quartets BARBER Adagio. Keller Quartett. ECM New Series

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Ligeti String Quartets Barber Adagio Keller Quartett Ecm New Series

  • Ligeti String Quartets Barber Adagio Keller Quartett Ecm New Series
  • Ligeti String Quartets Barber Adagio Keller Quartett Ecm New Series
  • Ligeti String Quartets Barber Adagio Keller Quartett Ecm New Series

Ligeti: String Quartets / Barber: Adagio

György Ligeti: String Quartet No. 1 (1953-54)

  • 1. Métamorphoses nocturnes
  • 2. Samuel Barber: Molto adagio from String Quartet op. 11 (1935-36)

György Ligeti: String Quartet No. 2 (1968)

  • 3. I. Allegro nervoso
  • 4. II. Sostenuto, molto calmo
  • 5. III. Come un meccanismo di precisione
  • 6. IV. Presto furioso, brutale, tumultuoso
  • 7. V. Allegro con delicatezza - stets sehr mild

Keller Quartett :

András Keller, János Pilz, Zsófia Környei (violins), Zoltán Gál (viola), Judit Szabó (cello)

The Keller Quartet’s association with ECM has yielded outstanding recordings, among them Bach’s Art of the Fugue, Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 15 and works by the ensemble’s mentor, György Kurtág. This release is another remarkable addition to the Budapest-based group’s discography, an album that bridges musical worlds. The Molto Adagio of Samuel Barber’s String Quartet No. 1 is offered as tonal terra firma between György Ligeti’s restlessly shifting First and Second Quartets, bracing creations of the 1950s and ’60s that - like the quartets of his great precursor, Bartók - are as mysterious as they are earthy.

Mid-20th century, Barber and Ligeti would have been considered aesthetic opposites. “Ligeti was all about leaving what for Barber was solid home”, Paul Griffiths notes in the liner text. From a contemporary perspective both composers are voices from the past, their present-day relevance emphasised in these committed performances. “Physically actualized in the recording, the music is being all the time remade by the performers searching for what a motif can convey and finding an abundance of expressive contours in Ligeti’s quartets as much as in Barber’s. The gesture of lament is common to both.”

The first of the recordings heard on this album was made in 2007 on the first anniversary of Ligeti’s death, Hungary’s foremost string quartet paying tribute to the great innovator of modern Hungarian music. The 2011 recording of the second Ligeti quartet documents also a change in the line-up of András Keller’s ensemble, with Zsófia Környei, widely considered one of the outstanding violinists of her generation, replacing long-serving Keller Quartet member János Pilz.

ECM New Series 4810026

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