Magazine article Gramophone

'The American Album'

Magazine article Gramophone

'The American Album'

Article excerpt

'The American Album'

Barber String Quartet, Op 11 Dvorak

String Quartet No. 12, 'American', Op 96 B179

Griffes Two Sketches Based on Indian Themes

Puts Lento assai

Cypress Quartet

Avie (F) AV2304 (65' * DDD)

There seems to be a minor fashion at the moment for using an American thread to pull together groups of pieces and the San Francisco-based Cypress Quartet's own take works better than most. It is also a skilful way for them to explore their own interest in what they call the 'call and response' of how music changes over time while intrinsically staying the same. It is in that interesting idea that the great strength of this disc lies; it works well that the opening Dvorak represents the brave new world America was seen to be at the time, and that this is paid off in the Barber Quartet, which closes the disc.

The Cypress present a more reserved reading of the Barber than is common for this work and it is much the richer for it the Adagio molto is less buffeted by the performers' own involvement and presented with a straightforward simplicity that movingly reflects the hope it is so easy to feel in the Dvorak, and to sense in the graphic melancholy of the Indian Sketches of Charles Tomlinson Griffes. …

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