Monthly Archives: November 2007

Podcast #1-10. Kronos Quartet: Black Angels

SEASON FINALE! I imagine a lot of people will shut off their players right after the “You are listening” bug at the start of this show. Nothing like a screech of amplified violins …

I immediately fell in love with Black Angels (the piece and the album) the first time I listened to it. I was 18 years old at the time, and the pieces were so alien, I couldn’t help but be fascinated. Dmitri Shostakovich’s Quartet for Strings No. 8 spurred me to try my hand at writing a quartet. (And no, it’s not a very good one.)

Black Angels is one of my desert island discs, and it’s an album I can go back to again and again. Usually, though, when I’m in a very dark mood.

Some notes:

  • “Jewish” can a pretty hard work to pronounce when your mouth is full of cotton. The Thomas Tallis piece is originally a vocal work.
  • Dmitri Shostakovich wrote the Quartet for Strings No. 8 in 1960. The script makes it sound like he saw Dresden getting destroyed during World War II. Rather, he was working in Dresden when he wrote the quartet, and he was moved by the ruins from the bombings.

Pieces featured:

  • George Crumb: Black Angels
  • Thomas Tallis: Spem in Alium
  • Charles Ives: They Are There!
  • Istvan Marta: Doom. A Sigh
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Quartet for Strings No. 8: II. Allegro
  • Dmitri Shostakovich: Quartet for Strings No. 8: V. Adagio