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Barber & Ives - String Quartets

Composer Samuel Barber
Charles E. Ives
Performer Escher String Quartet
Period Modern
Catalogue Number BIS-2360 SACD
EAN 7318599923604
Format SACD Hybrid

This hybrid disc plays on both CD and SACD players
SACD Surround - SACD Stereo - CD Stereo

Release date Aug 2021
Total time 74'15

Previous releases from the New York-based Escher Quartet include an acclaimed set of Mendelsohn’s six string quartets as well as an album with works by Dvořák, Tchaikovsky and Borodin. For their latest offering the members have looked closer to home, however, choosing to combine the quartets by Samuel Barber and Charles Ives. The disc opens with Barber’s String Quartet &&&in B minor, containing the music for which the composer remains best-known: the second movement which he two years later expanded into Adagio for Strings. Recognizing its potential already while composing it, Barber described the piece as ‘a knock-out’ – which made it all the more difficult to come up with a third movement worthy to follow it. In the end he decided to make the quartet a two-movement work, but the Eschers have here included the lively third movement that the composer discarded, offering the opportunity to hear the work as it was once planned.

Barber is followed by the two full-scale quartets by Charles Ives, as well as a brief Scherzo. Like many other compositions by Ives, his First Quartet makes extensive use of revival and gospel hymns, quoting them in all four movements in a highly accessible tonal idiom. Far more challenging, the Second Quartet is a portrayal of ‘four men / who converse, discuss, argue ... fight, shake hands, shut up / then walk up the mountainside to view the firmament’ – a programme which invites a liberal use of dissonance, but also – towards the end – a particularly fulfilling resolution.
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  Samuel Barber
  String Quartet in B minor, Op.11 18'28
01 Molto allegro e appassionato 8'01
02 Molto adagio - attacca - 8'09
03 Molto allegro (come prima) - Presto 2'18
  String Quartet: original final movement
04 original final movement 5'28
  Charles Ives
  String Quartet No. 1 (From the Salvation Army) 21'23
05 I. Chorale 4'36
06 II. Prelude 6'15
07 III. Offertory 5'18
08 IV. Postlude 5'14
09 Scherzo: 'Holding Your Own' 1'23
  String Quartet No. 2 25'58
10 I. Conversations and Discussions 9'47
11 II. Arguments 5'01
12 III. The Call of the Mountains 11'10
  Album total 74'15
String quartetEscher String Quartet
ComposerBarber, Samuel
Ives, Charles

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