Since September 2010, this blog has recorded the journey of this middle-aged man as I attempt to listen to all the music in my CD collection. CDs revisited in their entirety from start to finish - no skipping tracks, no shuffle. CDs only - no vinyl, no tapes, no downloads. And just as CD technology (and the album format itself) becomes obsolete. I'm no music critic, just a music junkie with too much time on my hands.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kronos Quartet - Winter Was Hard (1988)

At the time of this release, Kronos Quartet were the new champions of new music, performing pieces written only in the preceding 100 years.  I no longer follow the group so I'm not sure if they still do that.  They are, however, responsible for over 750 new works and 43 studio albums.  This was the group's 7th release and is a hodge-podge of contemporary pieces written in the years 1936 - 1988.  I purchased this CD to hear Barber's Adagio played in its original string quartet instrumentation (originally the second movement to his String Quartet, Op.11, Barber later arranged it for full orchestra and retitled it Adagio For Strings.  You've heard it, trust me.)  This doesn't get much playing time, but occasionally I'll pull it out to hear the Adagio.

Tracks:  There are ten pieces presented here; I enjoy the following:
  • Half-Wolf Dances Mad in Moonlight (1985, Terry Riley)
  • Fratres (1977, Arvo Pärt)
  • Bella By Barlight (1984-85, John Lurie)
  • Adagio (1936, Samuel Barber)
  • A Door Is Ajar (1988, Traditional)
There's also an interesting piece by John Zorn titled Forbidden Fruit which, in addition to the string quartet, uses turntables and a soft female voice.  I like the idea of using the turntable, but the fascination soon passes amidst the noise of this aleatoric piece.

Personal Memory Associated with this CD: I saw the group on tour in support of this release at McAllister Auditorium on the campus of San Antonio College.  The group was brought to San Antonio by the now defunct San Antonio Performing Arts Association.  I also had a small, framed poster of the album cover which I proudly displayed for a while, mistakenly thinking it upped my hipness quotient.

Previously revisited for the blog:
Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass (1995)
Five Tango Sensations (1991)
Different Trains, Electric Counterpoint (1989) 

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