Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Composing America: The Lark Quartet -- an engaging survey

Composing America
Adams, Bolcom, Copland & Moravec
The Lark Quartet
Bridge Records

The Lark Quartet's latest release is a broad sampling of American string quartet music -- and it's broad in many ways.

First, it ranges from the  1928 modernism of Aaron Copland, through the minimalism of John Adams, the populist sound of William Bolcolm and ending with the more formal writing of Paul Moravec.

It's also broad in it's inclusion of performers. The selections from "John's Book of Alleged Dances" (John Adams) features percussionist Yousif Sheronick. Bolcom's "Billie in the Darbies" has the quartet accompanying baritone Stephen Salters. The Moravec work is a Piano Quartet, which the quartet performs with pianist Jeremy Denk.

Only eight minutes of the program, Copland's "Two Pieces for String Quartet" are for sting quartet alone.

And all of it's to the good. The variety of styles, forces, and sounds make this an interesting album to listen to straight through. The Lark's clear, straight-forward sound seems perfectly suited to this material.

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