ELLIOT GOLDENTHAL (b.1954): String Quartet No. 1 "The Stone Cutters" (Tom Chiu, Conrad Harris [violins], Liuh-Wen Ting [viola], Mariel Roberts [cello]), Brass Quintet No. 2 (Extension Ensemble), Double Bass Sonata (Tim Cobb [bass], Stephen Gosling [piano]), 3 Pieces for Piano (Geila Perach).
Catalogue Number: 11Q082
Label: Zarathustra Music
Reference: ZM 002
Description: On the strength of this admittedly limited sample, Goldenthal seems to belong to the ranks of successful film score composers whose concert music - especially that for more intimate venues, where performance opportunities ride less on widespread appeal - exhibit a more modernistic bent than in their music intended for a wider audience. Three of these pieces are early - written when the composer was in his twenties while the quartet was finalised last year; however the booklet suggests that it had been gestating for quite some time. All the works are far less tonal than the symphony, also offered this month; all have elements of the experimentation with unusual sonorities common to Goldenthal's output whatever the underlying idiom of the piece. The Double Bass sonata and the tersely compressed quartet both make significant use of mildly extended techniques - spiccato and col legno bowing, Bartok pizzicati, harmonics - the latter going somewhat further in its programmatic quest to express the themes of a poem by Robinson Jeffers, that all things, even stone carvings, poetry and all human endeavor must eventually disappear. All the works are in a very chromatic idiom, suddenly tending to transition into music with a tonal basis - for instance the relatively straightforward allegro ending of the sonata, the slow movement of the technically challenging quintet, and several episodes in the quartet.