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Thomas Simaku

Kreutzer Quartet

Naxos 21st Century Classics 8.570428

Here is the latest release by the Kreutzer Quartet in its current line-up. They have entered a period of intense activity on the new music front, with a conspicuous presence at the Royal Academy of Music in London, residencies in St Ives and at Wilton's Music Hall, and a demanding recording schedule.
[Look out for Reichardt's quartets and a complete recording of Dale Roberts' Croquis for Naxos to come].

Led from the beginning by the indefatigable Peter Sheppard Skaerved, they have over the years been dedicatees of over two hundred works for string quartet, making their record for commissioning new works one to reckon with alongside the Ardittis and the Kronos.

I came across the Albanian-born Thomas Simaku (b. 1958) in the World Music Days 2000, at which his Soliloquy for Violin solo stood out.

I wrote about it as "something for enterprising violinists to seek out - - a piece of unaccompanied violin writing which brings out the instrument's natural genius for passionate expression, fully realised in the young Luxembourg violinist Vania Lecuit's riveting interpretation".

Now it has been joined by similar works for cello & viola, here the centre pieces of a survey of the chamber music for strings by this composer, who now teaches at York. They go well together and each is played compellingly by a member of the Kreutzers (a pity that for symmetry one of the two solo violin pieces on this disc was not allocated to the quartet's excellent second violinist/composer Mihailo Trandalfilovski?). These Sololoquies could prove welcome interludes in chamber music recitals for various permutations of instruments.

I am so far less convinced by Simaku's string quartets, which I had heard live at one of the Kreutzers' series of concerts at St Bartholomew The Great in London; both seem to rely too heavily upon tremolando.

Peter Grahame Woolf

Another opinion:
Kreutzer Quartet; Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York - - Thomas Simaku's Second Quartet (Radius), almost an anthology of quartet techniques, beautifully concocted. Coming quickly to the boil, it then dissipates into ghostly shimmering and darting traceries, before slower lines gyrate around a steady cello.
Martin Dreyer(The Press - Music news and reviews from around the York area)