RICHARD DANIELPOUR (b.1956): String Quartets No. 5 “In Search of ‘La vita nuova’”, No. 6 “Addio” and No. 7 “Psalms of Solace” (w/Hila Plitmann [soprano]).
Catalogue Number: 01T056
Description: Three fine, neo-romantic quartets, each with a distinct extramusical theme, in the composer's customary emotionally charged, tonal idiom. The 5th, from 2004, is a journey of self-discovery, reflecting on Danielpour's long relationship with Italy, "a place of renewal" as a metaphor for inner, spiritual renewal. The journey starts with dramatic, turbulent origins in the first movement, and continues obsessively in the relentlessly driven, motoric central scherzo. Only in the calm, reflective finale does the music find resolution and repose, and a kind of transfigurative moment at the movement's climax. The 6th is concerned with the idea of 'farewell', treating the quartet as a metaphor for the family, ultimately fragmented and separated. The first movement begins reflectively, but soon develops an urgent energy which sounds 'Beethovenian' even before you become fully aware of the quotations woven into the music. The movement ends with a gentle, bittersweet wistfulness. The central movement begins as a lively, dancing pizzicato scherzo, but a more dramatic central section brings a sense of unease before the high spirits of the opening are restored. The finale is gently sorrowful, ending with a simple, moving 'hymn' and variations, during which the players successively leave the stage, leaving only the cello, joined at the end by the 'ghosts' of the other players offstage. The 7th, Psalms of Solace concerns the search for the Divine. The loftily ruminative mysterious first movement, doggedly determined scherzo, and lyrically yearning slow movement represent the efforts of the intellect, the will, and romantic love to achieve revelation, but it is only in the finale, with its prayerfully sung psalms, that spiritual union is finally achieved. Texts included. Delray String Quartet.