Exposé Online banner

Peter Garland — String Quartets
(Cold Blue CB0031, 2009, CD)

by K. Leimer, Published 2010-07-01

String Quartets Cover artExuberant, bright and energetic, these two string quartets performed by Apartment House ( a traditional line-up of two violins, viola and cello) manage to cover a few centuries’ worth of style while never departing from a very contemporary aesthetic that finds unique inflections from Native American and Japanese cultures. Garland’s first, “String Quartet No. 1, ‘In Praise of Poor Scholars,’”seems to reference a number of styles and periods, but does so in a somewhat superficial way, acknowledging diverse compositional techniques without resorting to either emulation or pastiche. Like the music, the titles’ inferences are playful and poetic. Movements are given engaging, conversational and descriptive names: “Like an elegant slow dance...” and “Like a simple Indian dance–elegant and eloquent.” So like, but at the same time unlike. The six movements of “String Quartet No.1” display theme and variation – the opening movement “Rondeau ‘nouveau’” displays a deft and rapid progression that shifts from a simple opening phrase through multiple variations to a sort of phase music peak all in a matter of just a few minutes – as well as a more intuitive slip and slide contrasts in rhythm, timbre and touch. The five movements of “Quartet No. 2, ‘Crazy Cloud’”are as immaculately detailed as the and demonstrate a somewhat broader emotional range, momentarily setting aside the ever present vigor and shine for a somewhat minor-key movement that is reflective, slower, even a bit mournful. Garland provides listeners with access to remarkably intelligent and highly approachable 20th century works.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 38, 2009 releases

Related artist(s): Peter Garland

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

David Garland - Control Songs – David Garland is one of a rather small group of experimental singer/song writers. They are not cut from same bolt of cloth as, say, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell or James Taylor. Instead, Garland, along...  (1999) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues