£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Alfredo ARACIL (b.1954)
String Quartet no.3 (2004) [18:18]
Música de Cámara (String Quartet no.1) (1975) [16:22]
String Quartet no.2 (1991) [10:08]
String Quartet no.4 Figura Ante el Espejo (2010) [17:49]
Cuarteto Bretón (Anne Marie North (violin); Antonio Cárdenas (violin); Iván Martín (viola); John Stokes (cello))
rec. Madrid, May 2010. DDD
VERSO VRS 2095 [62:43]

Experience Classicsonline



 
This release contains Spanish composer Alfredo Aracil's complete string quartets to date, spanning thirty-five years of creativity. Aracil has never been a prolific composer, and an internet search suggests that this is only the second disc of his music to be published to date. 
The String Quartet no.1 is rather generically entitled Música de Cámara ('Chamber Music'), after the book of poems by James Joyce. Like Joyce's writing itself, this is an enigmatic work - a quartet in suspended animation. Nothing really happens, as such: there is no sense of narrative or structure, just a succession of long, drawn-out sostenuti, either as low drones or high-pitched squeals, interspersed with brief moments of silence. All three movements are slow, with few bursts of activity or loudness. Aracil composed this the year following composition classes at Darmstadt given by Stockhausen, Kagel, Wolff and Xenakis, and although their influences are clearly lurking, this does not sound like any of them. Appropriately, it ends without ending, so to speak. Clearly not a work of immediate wide appeal, but there is certainly more to it than the above description implies.
 
The two-movement String Quartet no.2 was written more than fifteen years later, but although quite different in some respects, the interest in silence and the passage or non-passage of time is once again striking. There is now simple melody, harmony and rhythm. There is also serialist treatment of material, which is mainly derived, unlikely as it seems, from the Cavatina of Beethoven's String Quartet op.130. The second movement is the only one in all Aracil's quartets to have some faster music in it.
 
Almost another fifteen years passed before Aracil's String Quartet no.3 was written. This work is rather like a musical mountain-climb - slowly, almost imperceptibly, the listener is taken to higher and higher plateaux, with rubbed strings sounding like laboured breathing as the atmosphere becomes more and more rarefied over the slowly unfolding time-span. All the while some semblance of a generally accessible quartet is played out, the strings swirling around moodily like mountain mists. The violins in particular have to play some extremely high notes - the final pitches are of Mount Everest summit proportions, and the skill with which the Bretón Quartet sustain the sound is, aptly, breathtaking. A visionary, spellbinding work.
 
Bizarrely, the Fourth String Quartet begins literally almost exactly where the Third leaves off, despite the fact that it was written six years later. This work was commissioned by the Spanish Ministry of Culture and dedicated to the Bretón Quartet. It is subtitled Figura ante el Espejo ('Figure Before the Mirror', inaccurately translated as 'Figure Facing the Mirror' in the booklet), and purports to be a reflection on reflection, as it were - subtly altered perceptions of reality. Thus the opening passages are a backwards distortion of the closing bars of the Third Quartet, and from there angles and refractions subtly deflect the music. The booklet notes explain this, but in slightly awkward translation of a Spanish text of already considerable post-modern density - giving sentences like: "we are also made to feel that we remain in suspension, like the poetic text or music itself; music which transcends itself by becoming more sonorous and leading us to no other place but its own centre." Overall, the quartet is quite similar to the Third, but with reminiscences of the First - as if Aracil were in some way completing a circle.
 
None of these works is easy listening; not by any means. The acoustic world created for this medium by Aracil is like no one else's. It is possible that he shares some of Gloria Coates's deconstructive aims in her quartets, but his methods and effects are quite different. Aracil's quartets are innovative, taxing and unsettling, but they are not unmusical - there are no ear-bludgeoning dissonances or cacophonous tutti here. For the intrepid explorer of new music, this is a relatively straightforward challenge - and possibly a satisfying experience. Certainly, the very capable Bretón Quartet pull all the strings at their disposal to make it so.
 
The sound quality is generally very good, but there are some audible editing joins dotted about the disc, and one or two misplaced twangs right at a couple of track-ends. The booklet is attractive and the notes informative, even if the language they are written in is rather extravagant.
 
Byzantion
 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.