Danish String Quartet

Chicago Reader

I’ve spent the last few weeks entranced by the Danish String Quartet’s new album on ECM, a gorgeous recording that tackles works by three European composers of three consecutive generations—each piece being his first for string quartet. The most recent, Arcadiana by Brit Thomas Adès, opens the album with a lush, stylistically broad evocation of natural idylls, its seven movements veering from earthy turbulence to ethereal serenity. “Quartetto Breve” by Dane Per Nørgård lasts just seven minutes over two movements, though it shifts between emotional poles with the impact of an epic. 10 Preludes by Hans Abrahamsen, a onetime student of Nørgård’s, blurs the line between serialism and minimalism before pulling a sly postmodern finale by tapping some bright Renaissance polyphony. 

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