Quartetto con forza

Four post-war Swedish string quartets that are well worth getting to know

Record and Artist Details

Composer or Director: Mika Pelo, Anders Hillborg, Mats Larsson Gothe, Per Mårtensson

Genre:

Chamber

Label: Phono Suecia

Media Format: CD or Download

Mastering:

Stereo

Catalogue Number: PSCD182

Tracks:

Composition Artist Credit
String Quartet 'Visioni ed estasi' Mats Larsson Gothe, Composer
Mats Larsson Gothe, Composer
Stenhammar Quartet
Konigsgaard Variations Anders Hillborg, Composer
Anders Hillborg, Composer
Stenhammar Quartet
Sediments of Discourse Per Mårtensson, Composer
Per Mårtensson, Composer
Stenhammar Quartet
Up, Down, Charm, Strange Mika Pelo, Composer
Mika Pelo, Composer
Stenhammar Quartet
Swedish post-war music has made little international headway but this is no fault of Phono Suecia, who have assiduously promoted such composers as those on this disc of string quartets from the past five years. Only Anders Hillborg has a wider profile: his Kongsgaard Variations might seem to be founded more on a mood than an actual theme but these slow-burning variations gradually reveal the “Arietta” from Beethoven’s last piano sonata as their source. While promising more, Per Mårtensson’s First Quartet delivers less – its first three movements setting out motifs that, diverting in themselves, are not distinctive enough to make their eventual synthesis in the “Drama” finale more than the outcome of a logical yet uninvolving process.

Mika Pelo’s piece is far from systematic in its unfolding, the sound strata connecting in a manner more diverse than merely “up” and “down”, with a degree of “charm” in their outlining of a form with more than a hint of the “strange” (that is, unexpected) to its content. The first work here leaves the strongest impression: Mats Larsson Gothe’s Third Quartet owes a debt to Ligeti – the impulsive Ligeti of String Quartet No 1; this is most evident in the pivoting between virtual stasis and intensive activity, generating a momentum as powerful as it is enthralling. All four pieces here have been well served by the fine Stenhammar Quartet, and the quality of sound and booklet-notes makes them all the more worth getting to know.

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