David L. Post: String Quartets Nos. 2-4

Hawthorne String Quartet

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David L. Post: String Quartets Nos. 2-4 Review

by Stephen Eddins

American composer David Post's (born 1949) background as a cellist and his experience playing string quartets serve him well in his writing for strings. The outstanding characteristics of the four works for string quartet recorded here are the assured fluency and idiomatic mastery of his string writing and his ability to make the ensemble sound fabulous. These pieces were written in a relatively brief span -- between 2000 and 2005 -- but there is a distinct development from the earliest piece, the Second Quartet, to the latest, the Fourth. The Second is an entirely proficient work in the Hindemithian vein: contrapuntally fastidious, thematically busy, and tightly focused, but without a particularly individual musical personality. The remaining works, Fantasia on a Virtual Choral and the Third Quartet (2003) and the Fourth Quartet (2005), are considerably freer, more distinguished works. The Fantasia, commissioned by the Terezin Music Foundation, is solidly neo-Romantic in style but it communicates authentic emotional depth and avoids sounding derivative. The Fourth Quartet is also a strong piece whose first movement is especially imaginative and evocative. The Hawthorne Quartet, whose members also play in the Boston Symphony, performs with a warmly blended, sweet tone and secure technique, making the most of the harmonic lushness of the scores. The warmth of the recorded sound beautifully suits the Romantic atmosphere of the music.

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