Alan Rich
May 31, 1991 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Arditti Two

type
Music
Current Status
In Season
Producers
Gramavision
genre
Classical

We gave it an A

Given the existence of two string quartets that concentrate almost exclusively on craggy new scores — San Francisco’s Kronos and the London based Arditti — an easy supposition might be that these groups hide behind unfamiliar repertory to avoid being judged against competition. Wrong, and wrong again. Arditti Two finds the Arditti at its best, digging into the most adventurous of Bartok’s six quartets (No. 4) with an energy that could cut through a steel plate; managing the mysteries, the sound almost at the edge of silence, in Sofia Gubaidulina’s intensely personal Quartet No. 3 of 1987; detailing the violence, the moments of quasi-religious fervor in Alfred Schnittke’s somber Quartet No. 2 from 1980. After years in the pre-glasnost, avant-garde underground, Gubaidulina and Schnittke are basking in overdue recognition. Hearing the fervor of those Arditti performances, you might well wonder if there are better composers anywhere these days. A

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