Magazine article Gramophone

'Metamorphoses': Brahms Intermezzos

Magazine article Gramophone

'Metamorphoses': Brahms Intermezzos

Article excerpt

'Metamorphoses' Brahms Intermezzos: Op 116--No 2; No 4; Op 119 -No 1. Ballade, Op 118 No 3 Haydn String Quartet, Op 54 No 2 Ligeti String Quartet No 1, 'Metamorphoses nocturnes' Dudok Quartet Resonus [F] RES10150 (57' * DDD)

Comparisons may be of academic interest for this Hungarian-themed album, but Ligeti's first work of early maturity receives an outrageously fearless performance, even placed against no less technically gifted but more experienced ensembles. In more recent recordings by younger ensembles such as the Casals and Parker quartets, the work's explicitly Bartokian heritage still casts a long shadow. The Dudok Quartet's gift is to hear Ligeti in Ligeti even when he couldn't hear it in himself: in the manically laughing slides of the capriccioso idea near the opening, in the cloudy glass plates (at 10'20"--the album's one deficiency is a shortage of cue points) of what passes for a slow movement, in the absurdist coda's motivic disintegration. The First Quartet is Tom and Jerry in black and white, the Second is their Technicolor reincarnation, but the Dudok give us remastered Ligeti, blacker and whiter than ever before.

From its false-bottomed opening, Haydn's Op 54 No 2 is even more prodigally original, and perhaps even Hans Keller would be satisfied with the 'invention without concession' displayed by the members of this young Dutch quartet, and especially its leader Judith van Driel. …

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