Sunday, February 03, 2013

The Brodsky Quartet, Anne sofie von Otter
"Respighi: String Quartet, 'Il tramonto'" (CD)

Crossover acts in the realm of classical music are an oddity, but hardly a rarity any more.  Perhaps any hot young string quartet who gets to record on Alicia Keyes' latest album owes a debt of gratitude to the British Brodsky Quartet.
While they never leaned as far over the diving line as the Kronos or Turtle Island String Quartets, Brodsky has carved a name for themselves as purveyors of the finest repertoire while getting to enjoy exposure to mainstream audiences by recording with the likes of Elvis Costello, Paul McCartney and Björk.   (Björk's "Hyperballad" with Brodsky is far superior to the original album version.)

This album features the quartet writing of the Italian impressionist Ottorino Respighi.  Impressionism is a world almost exclusively owned by the French, but Respighi made his name known (most notably with his "Rome" tone poems.)

These quartets are not well known so I'm glad to have a recording of them.  For one shorter work the quartet is joined by mezzo-soprano Anne sofie von Otter for Respighi's single-movement "Il Tramonto"  which was a work very nearly performed by myself earlier this year.

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