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Classical - Released September 1, 2017 | Winter & Winter

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or - Special Soundchecks
Danish composer Hans Abrahamsen's four quartets are presented here by the famous Arditti String Quartet, in reverse order of composition: the  Fourth (2012), the Third, (2008), the Second (1981) - you may have noticed the huge gap, which will make more sense once you know that between 1990 and 2000 he put down his pen and stopped composing altogether - and then the First (1973), which was written as "Ten Preludes". From his earliest days as a composer, Abrahamsen has shunned the avant-garde doctrines of the "Darmstadt School", preferring to learn from his teacher Ligeti, in a language he took to calling the "New Simplicity". When listening to these four works, one is indeed struck by Abrahamsen's ability to create recognisable lines, at once modern and very old, sometimes bearing the traces (real or imagined) of folk airs, with a clear love for the most keening moments; and putting harmonics to mind-blowing use. The listener will realised that they are in the presence of a highly original piece of music, modern for sure: but it doesn't require a forced intellectual effort – rather, it demands that the listener abandon themselves to the rich and captivating discourse of the four musicians of the Arditti Quartet. © SM/Qobuz
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Chamber Music - Released January 28, 2011 | Winter & Winter

Hi-Res Distinctions Diapason d'or - Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released December 9, 1996 | Sony Classical

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Classical - Released April 4, 2014 | Winter & Winter

Hi-Res Distinctions Hi-Res Audio
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Classical - Released October 11, 2005 | naïve classique

This is a two-disc collection of music, either recorded on France's Naïve label or acquired by that label, that arose in Vienna during the years on either side of 1900. It might be argued that the music of the Viennese fin de siècle was all about extremes -- of length, of concision, of orchestration -- and that the best way to appreciate the musical culture of Vienna in 1900 would be to sit down and listen to a Mahler symphony from beginning to end. Still, for a program of short excerpts devoted to music that did not think in those terms, this one works remarkably well. It draws key connections that are usually ignored, and the biggest one is between Brahms on the one hand and the Second Viennese School on the other. The casual concertgoer is likely to think of Brahms as the conservative and Schoenberg as the radical, but Schoenberg himself did not draw that distinction. The combination of emotional intensity and concision in Brahms' later works was determinative for the styles of Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern, all in slightly different ways, and the juxtapositions of works here make the relationships as clear as is possible within this restricted format. Another delightful connection is drawn with the inclusion of Schoenberg's arrangement of Johann Strauss II's Rosen aus dem Süden -- coldly deconstructive, yet not untouched by the sensuality of the original. Taken as a whole, the collection conveys the combination of lushness and an underlying sense of things spinning out of control that gives Viennese culture its peculiar fascination and has kept Freudian analysts in business for more than a century now. Naïve's mastering engineers, dealing with a set of recordings dating back as far as 1968, have done an admirable job in forging a whole out of diverse parts, and anyone who wants to try decadent late Romanticism in small servings rather than bellying up to the whole greasy plate should try this handsomely presented set.
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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | naïve classique

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Quartets - Released March 16, 2009 | Naive

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Quartets - Released March 16, 2009 | Naive

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Classical - Released July 24, 2015 | Winter & Winter

Hi-Res Booklet
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Chamber Music - Released June 4, 2013 | Minabel

Booklet
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Chamber Music - Released July 28, 2009 | Mode Records

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Classical - Released January 1, 2007 | Kairos

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Classical - Released January 1, 1990 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released January 1, 1994 | naïve classique

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Classical - Released September 23, 2016 | Winter & Winter

Hi-Res Booklet
With this CD on Winter & Winter, the Arditti String Quartet celebrates 40 years of cutting-edge performances. Long recognized as the leading string quartet in avant-garde circles, and admired for the brilliance and virtuosity of its performances of the most demanding works, the Arditti gave its first concert in March, 1974, and over four decades it has not stopped rehearsing, studying, performing, and recording the most challenging music of our time. This program consists of 14 short works by some of the most prominent contemporary composers -- Wolfgang Rihm, Hans Abrahamsen, Toshio Hosokawa, Brian Ferneyhough, Brice Pauset, Mark Andre, Marco Stroppa, Liza Lim, Harrison Birtwistle, Hilda Paredes, James Clarke, Georg Friedrich Haas, Uri Caine, and Johannes Maria Staud -- and the variety of their compositions makes this survey a fascinating exploration of innovative techniques and original concepts. Adventurous listeners will be impressed by the Arditti's fearlessness and directness in approaching this uncompromising music, and the liner notes by violinist Irvine Arditti provide background information that will be helpful to those just discovering the group.
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Kairos

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Chamber Music - Released August 1, 2013 | NEOS Music