JACK Quartet

Ha-Yang Kim: Threadsuns

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Korean composer Ha-Yang Kim manages to draw in both Eastern and Western influences, and, more unusually, to apply extended string quartet technique to both. Threadsuns is inspired by a poem of the same name by Romanian Jewish writer Paul Celan, and in the CD package you get a somewhat Rilkean quote from the work, in German and English, but little other commentary. It's a string quartet in three sizable movements, lasting about 45 minutes in all, and in each movement quite a few sound worlds go by, reflecting such sources as American modernism (George Crumb would seem to be an influence), noise rock, and Asian traditions, including those of the composer's native Korea. The variety, though, is counterbalanced by an equally rigorous structure. The three movements fall into the classical fast-slow-fast pattern, and the individual movements orbit around resting places of conventional sound production. The furious but controlled playing of the Jack Quartet is an attraction here; the work could hardly have found more sympathetic interpreters. All that remains as an obstacle is the taste of many listeners, which will certainly be assaulted by this music, but it's very far from dull.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Threadsuns, for string quartet
blue highlight denotes track pick