Saturday, November 5, 2011

Dominique-René de Lerma on Havana String Quartet: 'we have yet another definition of contemporary music'

[The Havana String Quartet Leo Brouwer - The String Quartets - String Trio; Zoho Classix ZM 201 108 (2011)]

Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is an Afro-Cuban classical guitarist, composer and conductor who is featured at We have discussed the CD of The Havana String Quartet, Leo Brouwer - The String Quartets - String Trio, which won a Latin Grammy Award for Best Classical Recording in November 2010.

Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,, provides us with his review of the recording:

“An initial contact with the music of Leo Brouwer (1939- ) is enough to convince any listener that this composer is quite distinct from his contemporaries. Most of the previously available recordings (there are many) offer new insights into the potentials of the guitar. But now we have yet another definition of contemporary music with this CD, Zoho Classix ZM 201 108 (2011) by the superb Cuarteto de Cuerdas de la Habana paying tribute to Brouwer's 70th year.

“The liner notes (English and Spanish) are substantial and properly laudatory, but there is no explanation why Au clair de la lune is quoted or those ghostly fragments culled from the past, why a percussion (wood block?) appears, as well as the players counting (in English), or those jazz moments. Maybe because of politics, we do not have evidence of the composer's relationship to his Cuban heritage. To identify some kinship to Bartók (to whom the first quartet is dedicated) does not diminish the works' originality. The intensity of introspection equates not only that of Bartók, but also late Beethoven. Here then is a valid stimulus for a monograph and most welcome addition to the repertoire.

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