Amici Quartet

Echoes for String Quartet

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Performed by the Amici Quartet, and Robert Hill (clarinet) with the Ariel Quartet. The elegiac "Echoes" was originally for a ballet in black-and-white decor, and recalls the mystery and foreboding of Herrmann's "black-and-white" string scoring for Hitchcock's Psycho. It also contains Herrmanesque reinterpretations of traditional forms like the "HabaƱera," "Valse lente" (Slow waltz) and a "Scherzo macabre." The composer explores again his technique of gradually varied repeated fragments and patterns. Somber, with overtones of the gothic but warmer in tone than the "Echoes" Quartet, the first movement of the "Clarinet Quintet" was inspired by a poem in A.E. Housman's "A Shropshire Lad," and the second movement by impressions of the Aran Islands off the cost of Ireland. The third movement is by contrast a sentimental journey through twilight Venice.