Boris Yoffe: Song of Songs
Russian-born Israeli composer Boris Yoffe, who developed his career in Germany, established the discipline of writing about a minute of music for string quartet almost every day. On his website he summarizes responses the quartet fragments have elicited from listeners: "The pieces are perceived quite differently by different listeners: 'boring exercises,' 'Each piece is a miracle,' 'abstract,' 'warm and passionate,' 'depressive and dark'... Some say the pieces resemble each other too closely. Others are as fascinated by the similarity’s revelation of a vivid presence of eternity as I am myself." That pretty well sums up the kinds of reactions the music inspires; it's like a Rorschach test onto which the listener could project any number of meanings. The five pieces presented on this recording, some of which add a mens' vocal quartet to the string quartet, are made up by conjoining a number of the brief sketches, and the results do in fact resemble each other pretty closely. The majority of them are spare and melancholy, written within a narrow dynamic range, without much use of extremes of register, the sections joined without apparent concern for developmental continuity. The Hilliard Ensemble and Rosamunde Quartett bring their top-notch skills and musicality to the pieces. ECM's sound is characteristically immaculate and warm. ~ Stephen Eddins, Rovi
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