CRISTÓBAL HALFFTER (b.1930): 3 piezas for Quartet (String Quartet No. 1), String Quartet No. 2 "Mémoires", String Quartet No. 7 "Espacio de silencio".
Catalogue Number: 01M070
Reference: 307 1671-2
Description: "Three Pieces' is an early work, from 1955, blending Schoenbergian dodecaphony with the incisive, percussive rhythms of Stravinsky and Bartók, in the first and third, while the second explicitly references Janacek. The second, written 14 years later, was commissioned for the bicentenary of Beethoven's birth, and contains quotations from Beethoven's Op.135 quartet incorporated into Halffter's atonal vocabulary, with its extended instrumental techniques, like memories, or ghosts. The dialogue between the two composer's styles produces a work of considerable tension, which may also be said of the seventh, from 30 years later. This work incorporates texts by the 15th-century Spanish poet Jorge Manrique, which are provided to the players and audience in printed form to be read silently at key points in the piece (they are, naturally, printed in the CD booklet). The quartet is in a cyclic form inspired this time by Beethoven's Op.131, and here even more than in the second quartet the work, and its accompanying texts, seems to meditate on the tension between life and death. Halffter's idiom again incorporates some 'ghosts' of past styles in a sophisticated atonal language that traverses many of the innovations of the 20th century. Leipzig String Quartet.