GEORG KATZER (b.1935): String Quartets No. 1, No. 3 & No. 4 "tempi fragili".
Catalogue Number: 11M107
Description: Katzer's three extant quartets (the second was long presumed lost and its current status seems questionable) cover a wide expanse of time and techniques. The first, from 1965, is in three conventional movements, and avoids extended techniques. Chordal material in clearly defined rhythmic patterns contrasts with melodic episodes treating the instruments as soloists; this is taken to extremes in passages of controlled aleatory, with the temporal disposition of pre-determined pitches is left to the performer. The slow movement is lyrical and elegiac in mood. More than 20 years later, the third is far more timbrally experimental, the composer having in the meantime worked in music theater and electronic music. The music's sound world is extended through various extended techniques - not the most extreme of these, but the quartet's timbral palette is certainly extended. The composer draws an analogy with the chirping of insects, in which a multitude of disparate fragmentary sounds coalesce into an illusory primary sound of subjective solidity. The fourth quartet is an uneasy piece full of harsh contrasts, in keeping with its subtitle - 'fragile' or 'endangered' times - the work sounds like a commentary on the unsettling nature of both music and larger society in the contemporary world. Sonar Quartet. SACD hybrid.