String Quartet No. 1 New York Premiere Review
Posted on January 7, 2019
“Contemporary classical composition is going in so many different directions, that the surprise of JACK Quartet’s Friday night concert at 92Y was the uniformity of the musical language.
What was no surprise at all was JACK’s exceptional playing. The quartet is so fine and so well prepared that they never sound less than masterful. There remains something uncanny about hearing music that is supposed to be challenging to the musicians played with such precision and musicality that it gives the illusion of ease; that skill produces performances that are what the composers envisioned rather than misleading simulacrums.
JACK played three new or recent string quartets by Andreia Pinto Correia (who was in attendance), Sabrina Schroeder, and Zosha di Castri. These all led up to a modern masterpiece that seemed a progenitor of all the preceding music, Ligeti’s String Quartet No. 2.
Each movement was dedicated to one of the musicians—violinists Christopher Otto and Austin Wulliman, violist John Pickford Richards, and cellist Jay Campbell—although none was favored with showy solo moments.
There were bits of extended technique sprinkled in but as a whole this was a statement of modernist language, with a diminished-key lyricism and compressed clusters of notes that went beyond dissonance. The restless sound was a descendant of post-WWI expressionism.
Near 100 years to the day after that war ended, the main of the classical tradition survives in this sound, ones that make tonality plastic and subject it to extremes of compression and expansion. The result in this piece was music that dazzled the mind and punched its way into the heart.”
The New York Classical Review , George Grella