Horatiu Radulescu


mode 290

Piano Sonatas & String Quartets 1


mode 290  Horatiu RADULESCU:Piano Sonatas & String Quartets 1 – String Quartet No.5 “before the universe was born”, op.89; Piano Sonata No.2 “being and non-being create each other”, op.82; Piano Sonata No.5 “settle your dust, this is the primal identity”, op.106 – JACK Quartet, Stephen Clarke. CD or limited edition LP ($24.99), or Special Limited “Artist Edition” of 50 numbered LPs with individual original painting by the cover artist $180.00

Piano Sonatas & String Quartets 1 - CD

Stephen Clarke, piano
The JACK Quartet

String Quartet No.5 “before the universe was born”, op. 89 (1990-95)  29:20
The JACK Quartet

Piano Sonata No.5 “settle your dust, this is the primal identity”, op. 106 (2003)  18:31
1. The path into the light seems dark    10:57
2. Darkness within darkness. / The gateway to all understanding  3:04
3. Use your own light / and return to the source of  light. / This is called practicing eternity  4:31

Piano Sonata No.2 “being and non-being create each other”, op.82 (1991)  15:10
1. Immanence  7:40
2. Byzantine Bells  3:33
3. Joy  2:37
Stephen Clarke, piano

The first volume in a projected series combining Radulescu’s complete Piano Sonatas and String Quartets — there are six of each — on Mode performed by the superb JACK Quartet and Stephen Clarke (piano).

In the 1970s, Horatiu Radulescu began exploring and composing begun composing what he called “plasmatic music,” in which sound was conceived as an “endless ocean of vibrations,” as opposed to the traditional way in which music treats sound as a fabric of discrete scale steps. His music is linked to the “spectral music” school.

Radulescu’s Fifth String Quartet is one of the key works in his output. It is in some ways the richest manifestation of the body of string techniques he had developed for his music. It consists of 29 sections/pages which richly evocative titles, each lasting about 1 minute.

The Second Piano Sonata is inspired by the Tao of Chinese philosopher Lao tzu (6-5 BC). The first movement, “Immanence,” opens with a powerful sonority built from spectral functions which gives a sense of immensity and strength.

The Fifth Piano Sonata makes abundant use — more so than any of the other sonatas — of Romanian folk material, which is absorbed and integrated into Radulescu’s spectral language.

Liner notes by Bob Gilmore.

Hand-Numbered Limited Edition of 500 LP
• Mode’s first vinyl LP release since 1986!
• Includes 4-page insert of liner notes by Bob Gilmore (in English, German & French)
• Mastered by Scott Hull at Masterdisk from the original 96 khz/24-bit files
• Plated and pressed at RTI, California
• Includes a free Download Card of the entire original CD

…And the Special Artist Edition LP of 50 copies:
Each copy includes a unique, original, signed painting by cover artist Dorothea Kares. Her paintings will grace future covers in Mode’s Radulescu Edition, so here is a special chance to own a possible original cover from Mode Records — and help support Mode.

Samples of some of the paintings can be seen here:


“glassy harmonics, superbly played”
— Andrew Clements, The Guardian, 14 July 2016

“…a tour de force of extended timbre … It is a powerful performance of a thrilling work.”
— Daniel Barbiero, avantmusicnews.com, 9 May 2016

“Clarke creates a masterful sense of independence and clarity among the layered voices, a feat that reflects not only his technical prowess, but also his deep understanding of this spiritually infused music. … JACK handles these hurdles with remarkable ease and grace…”
— William Dougherty, musicandliterature.org, 26 July 2016

“JACK Quartet members are utterly inside these microtunings and generate a psychoactive, athletic sound. Stephen Clarke performs the second and fifth piano sonatas and again the harmonic ingenuity impresses …”
— Philip Clarke, The Wire, August 2016

“It’s also hard to fault the concentration and virtuosity of the JACK Quartet in their premiere recording of the late Horatiu Radulescu’s 29-minute-long String Quartet No 5 (1995). Each of its movements takes as its starting point a line from the Tao te Ching; but Radulescu was nothing if not his own man (the very act of writing works entitled ‘quartet’ and ‘sonata’ was an affront to his fellow Paris-based spectralists) and the Quartet creates a tension between precision and freedom amid flickering, warping monochromes. After the high abstraction of the quartet, the Romanian folk influences of the Fifth Piano Sonata (another debut recording, from pianist Stephen Clarke) jump out in vivid colour.”

— Richard Bratby, Gramophone, September 2016


Helmut LACHENMANN: Complete String Quartets. mode 267
Lewis NIELSON: Le Journal du Corps; Axis (Sandman) with Steven Schick, percussion. mode 283
Johannes SCHOLLHORN: rota. mode 255
Complete String Quartets. mode 209
Akea – with Aki Takahashi, piano. mode 217

Stephen CLARKE:
Morton FELDMAN: Complete Works for Violin and Piano – Sabat/Clarke. mode 82/83, 2-CDs
Barbara Monk FELDMAN: The Northern Shore. mode 244
Giacinto SCELSI:
The Piano Works 2. mode 143
The Piano Works 4. mode 227
Christian WOLFF: Complete Works for Violin and Piano. mode 126

Jack Quartet profile

Stephen Clarke profile

You may also like…