DIEGO CONTI (b.1958): String Quartets Nos. 1-6.
Catalogue Number: 08T071
Reference: TC 950390
Description: Conti is a violinist-composer with an impressive performing résumé. He has played a great deal of contemporary music of all kinds, including a certain amount of genre-crossing, and has made transcriptions for violin of some unlikely repertoire, including Stockhausen and Zappa. He has increasingly devoted his time to composition this century, and these six quartets were all written between 2007 and 2012. Unfortunately, the impenetrable word-salad printed in lieu of notes in the booklet offers no clue about any aspect of the music, or why Conti suddenly turned to the venerable form with such enthusiasm as he approached his half-century. What is clearly discernible is that the pieces are very different, draw on a myriad styles, and are intriguing and simultaneously approachable and mystifying. It is tempting to surmise that he took to this most intimate and personal form as a kind of autobiographical sketch-book, a lexicon of his favorite influences, discoveries and inspirations from his long association with the violin, but this is pure speculation. There is clearly a strong and genuine absorption of and enthusiasm for traditions, and we hear references to the Baroque and Renaissance, the classical and romantic quartet repertoire (but not only quartets; a passage here seems etched over a ghostly palimpsest of Mahler; one there almost quotes Sibelius), and the insistent ostinati of the 20th century blend into the pounding rhythms of rock music or the patterns of minimalism, to be supplanted by a naïve fragment of popular melody, or, just as likely, ethereal clustered harmonics. This is the best kind of polystylism, guaranteed to keep you guessing, and sometimes unexpectedly moved or thrilled, throughout. 2 CDs. Officina Musicale.