The Complete String Quartets Vol. 2
1. String Quartet in Four Parts (1949/50) 21:38 First CD recording
2. Four (1989) 31:07 First recording, written for the Arditti Quartet
The Arditti Quartet
The second volume of Cage's String Quartets features his first and last works in this repertoire. The well known and exquisitely beautiful, serenely Zen-like early quartet receives its first new recording in 16 years. It is a pivotal work in Cage's oeuvre, showing the composer's transition between the rhytmically complex percussion works before it and the chance works of the 1950s. Four was written for the Arditti Quartet, its "time-bracket" form opens a world of microtones, the four independent players forming constantly shifting textures.
The pairing of these two quartets on this recording offers a striking demonstration that the silent compositional voice which Cage discovered in 1949 has remained with hin ever since. The booklet features another etching by Cage and extensive liner notes by Cage scholar James Pritchett. Composer supervised recordings.
"My very favorite Cage piece, the String Quartet in Four Parts (1950), a thing of wonderous hockets and ecstatic stillness, composed right before chance took over, is in the Arditti set on Mode, which, together with Tan's piano recordings, is the best Cage to be had on records."
"For those who want to make the plunge into Cage-space with a little caution, there could be no better starting place than the String Quartet in Four Parts, from 1950. The model material and vibrato-free playing produces an ambiance that should appeal to Arvo Pärt fans but always with Cage's inventive originality that requires no allusion to folk or medieval origins.
As of now, I would say that these (also Vol. 1 on mode 17) are my discs of the year, and probably last year and next year, too."
"The Arditti Quartet have recorded all of Cage's string quartet music for Mode (this is volume two) and they play it with enormous authority."
© Mode Records