TRISTAN KEURIS (1946-1996): String Quartet No. 1, MAURICIO KAGEL (1931-2008): String Quartet No. 4.
Catalogue Number: 03L117
Label: Turtle Records
Description: This disc is a useful reminder for anyone who, bemused by his wilder and more theatrical investigations and experiments into the nature and meaning of music, may have come to doubt Kagel's credentials as a composer of 'normal' music. His quartet eschews kitsch and deliberate incongruity in favor of a solidly middle-European æsthetic, elegantly distilling folk traditions without belittling them or subverting the craftsmanship necessary for a string quartet work destined for the concert hall. The piece derives both tunefulness and roughness from folk idioms, and a thorough sense of the quartet tradition from many models - Ravel, Beethoven, Schubert, and most obviously in the foreground, Bartók. Keuris shares a somewhat Bartókian vocabulary, though without the obvious folk influence, with color and rhythmic vitality also in common, even though in other respects the works, like their composers, are in strong contrast to each other. Keuris' three-movement work presents the suggestion of an unending cycle, the end of the third movement using the same motif as the beginning of the first so that, like an M. C. Escher illusion, the work could in principle have no end. Lagos Ensemble. Turtle Records SACD hybrid