Working closely with five American composers for this 2018 release on New Amsterdam Records, the New York-based Aizuri Quartet explores unique visions and discovers fresh sounds in these sui generis pieces, which were composed with the group's capabilities in mind. The novel sonorities of Gabriella Smith's Carrot Revolution, with its webs of glissandi and sawing rhythms, combine to make a tour de force of extended techniques, which is given high energy by the ensemble. Caroline Shaw's Blueprint takes the framework of Beethoven's String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 18, No. 6 as its architectural basis and fills out the spaces with Classical and modern sounds. Yevgeny Sharlat's RIPEFG is a memorial to his student, composer Ethan Frederick Greene, who inspired many of the conscious and subconscious decisions that informed its composition, including the motif E-F-G and the inclusion of a melodica in the instrumentation. Lembit Beecher's Sophia's Wide Awake Dreams, in two movements, was taken from a chamber opera, Sophia's Forest; it employs a music box and is derived from electronic sounds, which have been reworked to incorporate the string quartet. Paul Wiancko's LIFT is an attempt to communicate the feeling of elation he felt working with the Aizuri Quartet, and its three movements pulse with kinetic rhythms and an imaginative variety of textures and techniques. This debut album positions the Aizuri Quartet at the vanguard of contemporary string quartet music, and promises even more adventurous recordings from this versatile ensemble.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Sophia's Wide Awake Dreams|