Wednesday, October 29, 2014

George Crumb - "Black Angels" For Amplified String Quartet - Quatuor Diotoma

Sadly I cannot find my copy of the classic and monumental Kronos Quartet recording (although composed for and dedicted to the Stanley Quartet, "Black Angels" has never been presented more powerfully (or more fascinating, and ghastly) then the Kronos recording.) -It was actually an inspiration and motivation for the members of the Kronos Quartet- to indeed form a Quartet to begin with!) This work deals with, among other things, ideas about Good vs. Evil forces in the universe.

"Black Angels" is for "Amplified" String Quartet (as if it really needs that extra intensity!) as well
as certain unorthodox percussive instruments, not to mention glasses of water, placed next to the players and filled to different levels to change the pitch of each one. Many listeners will recognize
the movement "Night of the Electric Insects" as it was used quite effectively in the film "The Exorcist". This movement to this day gives me uncontrollable chills; I think it's one of the most sonically frightening pieces of music ever written. **I must add that this performance of the Quartet is not my favorite whatsoever-indeed the intensity and darkness is somewhat lost in the Diotima's performance, and "Night of the Electric Insects" is extremely tame here..

Crumb's quartet is like nothing else and I am always fascinated by it; it's a true contemporary masterpiece. When I find the Kronos Qt. version I shall post it right away, I think everyone should have it in their collection!



I will add that it's a nice bonus that Barber's Quartet is on this disc; I will also say that the Reich work annoys the hell out of me for whatever reason and again this disc is simply posted because I cannot locate my other recordings (The Kronos, or an also very good disc on Bridge records)

Here is an interesting and very thorough analysis of Black Angels for anyone interested:


I have also included a pdf file that gets quite in depth about Crumb's Quartet-it's rather fascinating, I hope everyone reads it. Enjoy!

American_Music_George_Crumb_Quartet_Diotima_Tz.zip

http://www49.zippyshare.com/v/99844681/file.html

15 comments:

Anonymous said...

I first came across Black Angels in a nice Cikada Quartet's CD released by Cala. However innovative and unusual I found the remaining pieces (Webern, Lutoslawski) far more rewarding.

As for the Different Trains I agree the original Kronos recording for Nonesuch established a benchmark yet to be surpassed. That's necessarily a completely subjective appraisal, for I lack the technical knowledge to tell why one version is (arguibly) superior. The strongest point I could make in support of this claim amounts to the Krono's being the first Different Trains I ever listened to.

Tzadik said...

Yes I know the Cikada Quartet's recording well, it's a fine disc all-around. I'm a fan of the Lutoslawski quite a bit too, and the Webern for me is good, not great listening. Indeed, initial listenings/first recording experiences are usually indelibly etched in the mind, that makes much sense..

Anonymous said...

Muchas gracias.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. I have been to Kronos Quartet's concert of Black Angels, it was quite an experience.

As far as Different Trains go, I like how ConTempo string quartet performs this work, they also have a nice video.

Piterets

theblueamos said...

I dont need any more music.I'm just wondering if everything is o.k with you? since you have'nt fed the beast for a few days.All the best.

Tzadik said...

You are welcome anon

Tzadik said...

Wow Piterests I haven't seen Black Angels live but I would love to! Must have been an experience indeed.

Tzadik said...

Hi t.b.h., it's nice of you to write/inquire. To be honest things have been rough, although that's what things usually are for me. I guess life's been a tad more trying as of late. But, as the saying goes, (whether or not it actually provides any comfort)-"things could always be worse" . I think those words are spoken by all most people from time to time. Again thanks for your kindness. -I will be posting more music tonight, if I can. Kind regards Tz

Anonymous said...

Great!! Thank you for a lesser known recording!

Tzadik said...

Oh you're quite welcome, a fresh perspective is always a good thing once in a while..still I am trying to find my Kronos copy also to post!

chris_c said...

thx for all the great music, have gratefully discovered your blog recently, and am greedily hoovering up the goodies. brilliant!

Tzadik said...

Hi chris_c, you are welcome and.......well, welcome to the blog :) Can I ask, how did you stumble upon it? Just curious if it's from another blogger's list or randomly, whilst sifting thru the web or it's many search engines..

Regards

Anonymous said...

If memory serves, my first hearing of George Crumb was his 'Voice Of The Whale' on very-late-nite FM radio sometime in the late '70's. A few months later I heard it performed at a local 'New Music' festival. My next encounter was the Kronos Quartet recording of 'Black Angels' when it arrived at my local record store. They remain my favourite pieces. Though I have heard other interpretations of 'Voice...', I have never heard another 'Black Angels'. This will be an interesting listen. Many thanks.

-Brian

Toon van Dijk said...

I've search the history of your uploads and I found a lot of interesting posts. It will take some time to download all and even more time hear all.
I send you my regards with best wishes for 2015

goinsidemyhead said...

... a very nice way to allow Sunday morning to just evaporate into the either as the braincells rotisserize on a sunny but stupifying day...because seriously everyone is lost in this music...every one looking in the mirror searching out an unfulfilled longing...I would skip the Barber tracks, their on the wrong album...what did Frank Sinatra say, make someone happy...