Kuartets [CONCERT] ****
Kronos 191 (download, or 12-track vinyl) 17 tracks – 65:42
Composer Kristian Sensini (La Sorpresa, All Against All) offers this intimate collection of miniatures performed by a studio string quartet. The pieces run the gamut of styles and settings, while the performances by Esession Strings are committed and engaging.
The album opens with moto perpetuo joyful abandon in “Bicycle Promenade,” where the theme moves across the ensemble as both short, individual statements and in different duo combinations. “French Dream” has a more melancholic feel, with a motif that twists and turns against the harmonic shifts.
A relaxed waltz greets us in “Quiet Please,” where a delicate motive becomes a heartbreaking melody. The jazzier “In Una Rete di Unee” provides nice contrast with a post-minimalist feel, while “Le Stanza di Vanni” is more reflective, rendering a mysterious atmosphere.
The track titles reference a rich literary history (Baudelaire, Beckett, Lovecraft) with nods to French Impressionism, minimalism and film music (“John and Jerry,” Williams and Goldsmith, respectively).
Those familiar with Sensini’s film scoring will recognize his melodic style even in this reduced ensemble. Overall, the playlist is engaging, and anyone who enjoys string quartet music will likely be satisfied by what’s on offer here. The album can be purchased through a special website Sensini set up to help with the Italian response to the Coronavirus emergency; proceeds from the sale will go towards this relief effort. Click here for more info. —Steven A. Kennedy
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