Calidore String Quartet: Resilience

10.05.18
Calidore String Quartet
Gramophone

The cover of this new release from the Calidore Quartet has the four players standing in sunglasses in a Manhattan street, with the Freedom Tower rising behind them. In this business you don’t judge a book by its cover, but I can’t entirely discount the possibility that this was why, as they launch into Prokofiev’s Second Quartet – and repeatedly throughout the disc – I kept thinking of minimalism.

That’s meant in the most positive way, of course. Everything here has a clarity and an underlying rhythmic energy that I found enormously invigorating, whether in their bracing approach to Mendelssohn’s tragic F minor Quartet – a near ideal meeting of lyricism and high tension – or the playful rhythmic kick-and-a-swing they give to the Prokofiev. The booklet explains that the album is themed around the idea of human resilience in the face of suffering, but Prokofiev’s folk-inspired quartet has a playful spirit, even though it was written in wartime, and that comes through with real warmth and wit.
 
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