SALVATORE SCIARRINO (b.1947): String Quartets No. 7 and No. 8, 6 quartetti brevi.
Catalogue Number: 04O074
Description: The composer's statement 'Intimacy and high stylization converge in the world of the quartet' provides an important indication of his intentions in these works. The Seventh (1999) consists of a gentle discussion between the four instruments, much of it played conventionally (aside from some stratospheric harmonics here and there) with the inflections of speech. The Eighth of 2008 is similar in texture, though with a higher proportion of the innovative, subtle whispering, breathlike and almost vocal sounds that Sciarrino is so adept at coaxing from instruments. At twice the duration of the previous quartet, it covers a wider range of textures and expression, always within a restricted range of dynamic, introverted and delicate. The previous six, composed over a quarter-century beginning in 1967, form an evolving cycle, from the gestural, elusive early pieces, all in extended techniques, via a more extrovert, dramatic phase (III suggests a staging of some tragedy of antiquity) to a very subtle, whispered or murmured series of exchanges, clearly prefacing the style of the Seventh, in the later pieces. Quartetto Prometeo.