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ENSEMBLE Review of the Complete Recording of Peter Ruzicka’s String Quartets

For many years, the Arditti Quartet played a leading role in the history of performances of the string quartets of Peter Ruzicka – not least because several works of this cycle were dedicated to them. Several years ago, the Arditti Quartet issued a complete recording of String Quartets Nos. 1 through 6 on the ECM label. There now follows the complete recording of the six String Quartets (so far) by the Minguet Quartet, soprano Mojca Erdmann and speakers Christoph Bantzer and Peter Ruzicka on the NEOS label (Neos 10822 / 23 - 2 CDs).

The specialist journal ENSEMBLE published a review in its issue 3/10:

“(...) In (...) philosophically very demanding subject matter was taken on very sensitively by the Minguet Quartet, with discipline and seismographic playing technique, so that already the ‘Introspezione’ (No. 1 ) becomes a twitching adrenaline rush. In ‘Fragment’ (No. 2) the Minguet Quartet again presents a vehemently percussive confrontation concerning the capability to articulate. (...) ‘Klangschatten’ (Sound Shadow) is brief; composed for the 90th birthday of the music publisher Alfred Schlee, it rises and falls as if breathing. On the other hand, breathing is threatened by death in ‘... über ein Verschwinden’ (‚…on a Disappearance’) (No. 3), where only the music can console the silence and the staring void. Another experience of death is ‘Sturz’ (‘Plunge’) (No. 5), a trembling situation through a time tunnel without a firm hold. Language seems to provide security, at least has it as a compass in ‘.. sich verlierend’ (‘losing oneself’) polyphonic melismas. The 6th String Quartet ‘Erinnerung und Vergessen’ (Remembering and Forgetting) does not attempt a dichotomy, but instead to escape particles of marches and elegiac motifs in glissando arcs.”

(Hans-Dieter Grünefeld in ENSEMBLE 3/10)

 

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