The best from the Kronos Quartet |


The best from the Kronos Quartet

The best from the Kronos Quartet -- ''Kronos,'' ''Winter Was Hard,'' and ''Black Angels''' are some of our favorites

On its recordings the Kronos has always cultivated the same eclectic mix that makes up its concert programs. Audiences no longer look startled when, at encore time, violinist David Harrington announces a Jimi Hendrix number, or an Astor Piazzolla tango. Herewith a sampler:

Kronos includes an early quartet by the not-yet-minimalist Philip Glass and the sinewy Quartet No.8 by leading Australian composer Peter Sculthorpe. Jimi Hendrix’s ”Purple Haze,” in multicolored version, makes for a happy ending. A

Winter Was Hard is a wildly eclectic collection, including Alfred Schnittke’s brilliant, abrasive Quartet No.3 (which turns Beethoven’s ”Great Fugue” upside down with diabolical skill), the mystical Fratres by Estonia’s Arvo Part, and a collaborative performance-art piece with antic saxophonist John Zorn. Also included: Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, which sounds sadly tame in these surroundings. A-

Black Angels’ title comes from George Crumb’s riveting, Vietnam-inspired outcry; the collection also includes the tortured Quartet No. 8 by Shostakovich, and a novelty you have to hear to believe: American composer Charles Ives, singing and playing his antiwar song, ”They Are There,” in a 1942 recording, with the Kronos adding its own obbligato nearly 50 years later. Who but the Kronos? A+