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Ivan Fedele: String Quartets
Arditti String Quartet

Quartet for Strings no 3 "Tar" (2000)
Quartet for Strings no 1 "Per accordar" (1980 - 1990)
Quartet for Strings no 2 "Pentalogon" (1987)
Electra Glide (1984) for two violins & viola
Viaggiatori della notte (1983) for solo violin

Stradivarius 33702 [7/2005; 65 mins]

The Arditti Quartet is smiling on this cover as well they (unusually) might; this is marvellous music, spanning 17 years of this leading Italian composer's fruitful composing life.

Fedele employs daunting theory in his constructions but his concern is for the listener, "the theatre of memory" in which perception takes on form. Tar has four continuous sections, two of them "(ec)static" - 'breathing in gasps as opposed to deeply'. The others 'thrust furiously along - to a point where it explodes'. So this is eventful, exciting music, conjuring up 'an imaginary landscape of seething volcanic magma'.

The first quartet is in five movements of contrasting character, described clearly in the composer's notes, which are a model of lucidity (rare in contemporary music!). The markings of Viaggiatori della notte (conceived during a journey at night) describe the music well - Impetuoso, Intenso, Elettrico...

Why write more? Click here and listen for yourself to half-minute samples of each of the eighteen tracks. It's a lovely disc which we played twice through with mounting pleasure.

See also Musical Pointers review of Fedele's concertos - essential!

Also look at my review of some of his mixed chamber music, unfortunately annotated for Accroche Note less helpfully by musicologist Pierre Gervasoni.

I recommend the concertos and quartets urgently if Fedele's is still an unfamiliar name to you?

© Peter Grahame Woolf