Oct 20

Glass String Quartets, performed by the Carducci Quartet ????

I am not a big fan of Philip Glass, but these quartets were quite appealing to me. True, they possessed a minimalist aspect to them, with much repetitive structures. In opera, minimalism creates boredom. It does just the opposite in the string quartets, creating a relaxed, meditative atmosphere. Yet, Glass maintains enough character to the overall flow of the pieces to lend character and distinction to each movement and each quartet. This made listening a joy rather than a matter of endurance. These quartets are a “must hear” for anybody who enjoys the whole panoply of classic music.

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Oct 20

Samuel Barber Piano Concerto, Prutsman, Royal Scottish National Orchestra ???

This and the next review focus on contemporary American composers. Samuel Barber is best known for Barber’s Adagio, popularized by Bernstein. This disc contains not only the Piano Concerto, but several other short works by Barber. The performance was technically adequate, but the pieces lacked an overall luster to them. Perhaps the performers didn’t have a chance? Barber seems to have a sense of non-direction to his music, being occasionally bombastic, occasionally quiet, but never leading anywhere. Fortunately, it was reasonably tonal and thus endured listening to. This is not exactly a disc that I’d encourage you to rush out and purchase.

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