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Keller Quartett
György Ligeti - String Quartets / Samuel Barber - Adagio

András Keller violin
János Pilz violin
Zsófia Környei violin (on String Quartet No. 2)
Zoltán Gál viola
Judit Szabó violoncello
 
György Ligeti
String Quartet No. 1
(Métamorphoses nocturnes)

Samuel Barber
String Quartet, op. 11
Molto adagio

György Ligeti
String Quartet No. 2
I. Allegro nervoso
II. Sostenuto, molto calmo
III. Come un meccanismo di precisione
IV. Presto furioso, brutale, tumultuoso
V. Allegro con delicatezza – stets sehr mild


Recorded June 2007 & October 2011
ECM New Series 2197
 
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An album that bridges musical worlds, with the Molto Adagio of Samuel Barber’s String Quartet No. 1 offered as tonal terra firma between György Ligeti’s restlessly shifting first and second quartets. Mid-20th century, Barber and Ligeti would have been considered aesthetic opposites. “Ligeti was all about leaving what for Barber was solid home”, Paul Griffiths notes in the liner text. From a contemporary perspective both composers are voices from the past, their present-day relevance emphasised in these committed performances. “Physically actualized in the recording, the music is being all the time remade by the performers searching for what a motif can convey and finding an abundance of expressive contours in Ligeti’s quartets as much as in Barber’s. The gesture of lament is common to both.” The first of the recordings heard on this album was made in 2007 on the first anniversary of Ligeti’s death, Hungary’s foremost string quartet paying tribute to the great innovator of modern Hungarian music. The 2011 recording of the second Ligeti quartet documents also a change in the line-up of András Keller’s ensemble, with Zsófia Környei, widely considered one of the outstanding violinists of her generation, replacing long-serving Keller Quartett member János Pilz.