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Michael Finnissy: Second and Third String Quartets

Michael Finnissy: Second and Third String Quartets by Kreutzer Quartet
Released: Mar 2012
Label: NMC
Finnissy moves in New Complexity circles, and the opening seconds of his "Second String Quartet" (with its rocketing lines and stark textures) will tell you why. But there's a compactness in what follows that the composer credits to Haydn, despite the fact that no formal score exists (it's a bunch of "parts" meant to "drift"). Credit the Kreutzer Quartet, which makes this music sound controlled. The Third Quartet is a bigger beast, but is worth taking the time to confront. More lyrical (in places) than the Second, it's a statement even before you get to the birdcall field-recording finale.
Seth Colter Walls

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