> WAYNE The Nuzerov Quartets Wallinger S Q 61600 [SHJ]: Classical Reviews- April 2002 MusicWeb-International

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Hayden WAYNE
The Nuzerov Quartets
No. 3
Animato – Animato – Largo – Allegro Assai

Animato – Allegretto – Largo – Animato con brio

Allegretto – Animato – Lento – Vivace

The Wallinger String Quartet
Recorded December 1999, Brno, Czech Republic
NEW MILLENNIUM 61600 [71.34]


Experience Classicsonline

Hayden Wayne’s Nuzerov Quartets are a rather peculiar and idiosyncratic set of modern string quartets with heavy rock influences. Driving rhythms and frequent syncopations underpin much of the writing, and the cello is given the same textural treatment as a bass guitar.

The quartets are, at first, remarkably charming – tamed, civilised snippets of rock and roll, if you like. The concept of writing fundamentally in a classical form, and adding the rock element as an effect, is a unique and interesting one, as most modern crossover experiments abuse classical music by placing the emphasis firmly on the rock beats. Wayne, however, is unafraid of gambling on the classical appeal of his work.

Sadly, the potential of the Nuzerov Quartets is betrayed by Hayden Wayne’s obvious unfamiliarity with the intricacies of classical composition, and the imagination and variation that chamber music requires is lacking. Each quartet follows a near-identical format, and although Quartet No.3 seems fresh and interesting, Quartets 4 and 5 contain only more of the same. Despite copious catchy tunes, the lack of proper development causes the novelty value of the classical-rock fusion to quickly wear off.

Having said this, there are passages where Wayne introduces welcome tangents, such as occasional folk-like melodies, very effective unison passages (played with expert precision by the Wallinger String Quartet) and a beautiful haunting violin solo in the first movement of Quartet No.4. It is all the more frustrating therefore, that these too fail to develop; Wayne instead reverts back to his trademark rock motifs. Over-repetition spoils other effective ideas too – the unexpected hiatus that ends one of the movements in Quartet No.3 is delightful and surprising. When it re-occurs on a further 3 separate occasions it becomes a cliché.

Despite its obvious pitfalls, this disc is nevertheless worth a listen, not least because of the superbly precise and well-swung performance of the Wallinger Quartet.

Simon Hewitt Jones


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