JÖRG WIDMANN (b.1973): String Quartet No. 1, Choralquartett, Jagdquartett, String Quartet No. 4, Versuch über die Fuge.
Catalogue Number: 12K127
Reference: 307 1531-2
Description: The composer sees these five independent works as a cycle that can be viewed - and performed - as a single work. The first has the character of an introduction, heterogeneous and questing in an apparent attempt to establish a coherent musical language, while the second is unquestionably a slow movement, withdrawn and enigmatic. The third, beginning with a shout, is a violent scherzo, distorting and fragmenting classical traditions (and a theme from Schumann). The fourth begins with rhythmic breathing sounds, and investigates the idea of a 'walking' rhythm, while the fifth, with voice intoning fragments of biblical texts, uses fugal and imitative baroque structures, returning to the investigative feel of the first, here trying (unsuccessfully) to settle into a coherent fugue. Tonal fragments blend freely with scraping, noise sounds and extended playing techniques, the whole emerging as an experiment in defining the modern quartet in the light of its enormous heritage. Juliane Banse (soprano), Leipzig String Quartet.