ANTHONY GILBERT (b.1934): Haven of Mysteries (Carducci String Quartet w/Guy Johnston [cello]), SIMON HOLT (b.1958): String Quartet No. 3 (JACK Quartet), DONNACHA DENNEHY (b.1970): The weather of it (Doric String Quartet).
Catalogue Number: 06S069
Description: Holt's quartet is typical of the composer in its intense, febrile energy. The work's six short movements are the composer's responses to stories and images in which people in situations of duress stubbornly carry on as though everything were normal. The textures are complex and active, with obsessively mechanistic gestures threatening to spin out of control in the fast movements; the harmony biting but clear and not exclusively atonal. Dennehy's idiom is far more tonal, the more so in recent works like this, from 2016, though his lines don't always restrict themselves to intervals of full semitones. The piece is clearly derived from minimalism, with propulsive undercurrents and long, flowing melodic gestures, which suggest the idea of changing weather patterns, though the title also suggests moods and feelings as opposed to precise narrative meaning. Gilbert's quintet reflects the composer's interest in cathedral architecture, in this case the rebuilding of Chartres cathedral after the fire of 1194. In a richly chromatic, modally inflected language, Gilbert explores structure and texture - of stone, stained glass and soaring space - in four tautly organized but expressive movements.