Boomkat Product Review:
Spellbinding recordings of new Baudouin De Jaer compositions from the “impeccable” and award-winning contemporary string quartet, Quatuor Tana; also including their take on Igor Stravinsky’s Elegie, composed for the 100th anniversary of the Pro Arte Quartet.
Baudouin De Jaer is the Belgian composer and violinist who notably cracked the idiosyncratic music system of Swiss outsider artist Adolf Wöfli - as heard on Analysis Of The Musical Cryptograms / The Heavenly Ladder (2010) - and who has previously appeared on these pages with his striking original Compositions For Geomungo And Gayageum modelled on Korean folk and Classical Court music - which, for reference, is also a strong influence on the work of Rashad Becker.
The Tana String Quartet are a multi-award winning ensemble recognised for their willingness to push the conventions of contemporary composition, notably using iPads instead of the usual paper-printed scores, which they also use for educational work, and also for incorporating hybrid instruments and electronics into their classical and contemporary music vocabulary.
Quatuor Tana prove a fine match for the technical intricacies and demands of Eclerectic Attracta, whose complex dynamic range is beautifully captured and rendered by Jarek Frankowski’s Acoustic Recordings mixing and mastering solutions using high-end, boutique grade equipment to capture everything from the finest spectral essence to shock-out passages of white hot string flashes.
They’re not necessarily “difficult” to listen pieces, though: taking inspiration from the mountainous province of South Korea which lends its title, Kangwondo (2011) mirrors the stately, pointillist elegance of De Jaer’s favoured Korean Classical Court music to beautiful effect, while NV (2009) written for 4 violins and four non-violinists instrumentalists, is a thrillingly dramatic and compact demonstration of the Quatuor’s ability to translate the highly demanding instructions of De Jaer’s composition, and likewise the durational, dramaturgical turns and tension of Eclerctic Attracta (1987) which requires a lot of directed movement from the players on stage.
If you’ve found yourself rapt by Mica Levi’s incredible soundtracks or solo work, or beguiled by the narrative dynamics of Rashad Becker’s Traditional Music For Notional Species and ever asked yourself; where to next? This album requires your attention forthwith.