Potomac String Quartet

David Diamond: String Quartets, Vol. 4

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The Potomac String Quartet presents three deeply felt and strongly characterized performances on this 2004 release from Albany, the fourth and final volume in the ensemble's series of David Diamond's 10 string quartets. Admirers of Diamond's thoughtful, elegantly constructed music will find this CD and the entire series a valuable contribution to the still meager catalog of recordings of this composer's muscular, impassioned works, and enjoy the highly polished, vigorous, and expressive playing. The Potomac's performance of the String Quartet No. 4 (1951) is pungent and pensive by turns, bracing in the many passages of dissonant counterpoint, yet subdued and reflective in several slow, lyrical sections. The String Quartet No. 7 (1963-1964) is even more intricate and intellectually appealing in its array of variations, fugues, and canonic devices, yet also viscerally exciting in its energetic exchanges and robust rhythms. The musicians are penetrating in their sharp lines and crisp articulation, which make Diamond's music stand out in high relief. Night Music for accordion and string quartet (1961) is an unusual filler piece, especially for a compendium of string quartets, but this serious work fits, both stylistically and aesthetically, with the two other works, and accordionist Carmelo Pino's tone blends remarkably well with the somber string textures. Albany's sound quality is excellent.

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