Dover Quartet – “Voices of Defiance” (Cedille Records, 2017)

Voices of Defiance

“Voices of Defiance” is the newest album released by “Cedille Records” on October 13. Album was recorded by one of “Dover Quartet”. The “Dover Quartet” was formed only a few years ago. This quartet members are young, talented and inventive musicians – Joel Link (violin), Bryan Lee (violin), Milena Pajaro – Van den Stadt (viola) and Camden Shaw (cello). The most part of music the quartet plays is the chamber compositions written by famous 20th century composers. Expressive, precisely, bright and outstanding playing, various playing techniques combining in one composition, original musical decisions are the main elements of this quartet music. Since it was formed in 2013, the quartet had became famous and one of the best quartets in the world because of dynamic, extraordinary and original playing, deep and bright interpretations of famous composers compositions.

Album music has original and expressive sound. The compositions by three famous 20th century composers are recorded in this album – Viktor Ullmann “String Quartet No.3 Op.46”, Dmitri Shostakovich “String Quartet No.2 in A major, Op. 68” and Szymon Laks “String Quartet No.3”. All these compositions are based on different music styles and elements. Viktor Ullmann’s composition is formed of polyphonic musical pattern. Many different playing techniques using create colorful and dynamic instrumentation. Modern and extraordinary musical language is the main element of Victor Ullmann composing style – he masterfully combined post-romantism, serialism, romantism and 20th century music styles and composing techniques in this quartet.

“String Quartet No.2 in A major, Op. 68” by Dmitri Shostakovich is especially emotional and dynamic. The high variety of moods and characters are connected together in this composition. This music is always changing – from aggressive, provocative and sharp it turns to soft, emotional and dramatic or very silent and calm. Various post-romantic, modernism music, atonality and tonality, serialism and other composing techniques are combined in these compositions. The wide range of moods and colors is created by using many extended and modern playing techniques. The music language is very dynamic, full of different musical expressions and playing techniques which help to express various moods of compositions. Lively, joyful or very solemn and deep – this music is very interesting and based on inventive musical decisions. There’s also are heard many tragic and dramatic episodes which are effectively and essentially connected with energetic and joyful ones.

Szymon Laks “String Quartet No.3” also is very emotional and dramatic composition. Lyricism, tragic and ecstasy moods are connected together in this composition. Rich and bright musical language of the composer is full of Poland folk melodies, post-romantic music elements, which are mixed together with atonality, tonality, serialism and other composing techniques of modernism. The main mood of the compositions is lyricism which mostly is expressed by dramatic violin solos, long and screaming separate sounds, slow and quiet melodies and other elements. The lyricism is combined with energetic and joyful solos which are heard very much in these compositions. Vital, versatile, expressive and dynamic episodes are full of arpeggios, pizzicato, glissando and other modern playing techniques. Masterfully and essentially combination of wide range of moods, characters, musical expressions and playing techniques create effective and colorful sound of this composition.

The compositions by all three composers are based on traditional form, polyphonic musical pattern, individual and independent melodies, rich and modern musical language and wide range of moods. “Dover Quartet” interpretations of these compositions were played splendidly and masterfully. They had demonstrated their own and unique playing style, extraordinary and original musical decisions and create unusual and modern sound of famous 20th century composers compositions.


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