Catalan composer Roberto Gerhard was a student of Arnold Schoenberg and an important innovator of serial procedures in the 1950s, though there are aspects of his music that reflect older practices, including traditional Spanish folk music, Baroque and Classical forms, and some influences of his modern compatriots, Isaac Albéniz, Enrique Granados, and Manuel de Falla. The two numbered string quartets are mature works that incorporate these varied elements, yet cohere perfectly well on their own as wholly integrated personal expressions, without seeming derivative or overtly referential. The Arditti String Quartet performs these pieces with its customary facility and virtuosic brilliance, and violinist Irvine Arditti fills out the remainder of the program with a passionate performance of Gerhard's Chaconne for solo violin, offering the listener an album just under 55 minutes, which may seem rather short in duration, except for the fact that the music is quite concentrated and intense. The reproduction is clear and vibrant in a highly resonant space, though the strings' tone isn't especially warm.
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AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|String Quartet No. 2|
|String Quartet No. 1|
|Chaconne for Solo Violin|