Mark O'Connor

String Quartets No.'s 2 & 3

by Steve Horowitz

3 November 2009

 

Classical folk

cover art

Mark O'Connor

String Quartets No.'s 2 & 3

(OMAC)
US: 26 May 2009
UK: 26 May 2009

Violinist and composer Mark O’Connor is a musical deconstructionist. He takes big musical themes and breaks them down into small components that he manipulates in modern and heartfelt ways. On his most recent disc, Quartets No.‘s 2 & 3, O’Connor takes on two American traditions, bluegrass and old-time music, and turns them into abstract string quartets, resembling something Aaron Copeland might have created during the 1950s in their formal combination of robust vitality and folk motifs. Echoes of melodies repeat themselves to create hooks but always dissipate rather than move to a climax.

At times, it sounds metaphorically like O’Connor and company (Ida Kavafian, violin; Paul Neubauer, viola, and Matt Haimowitz, cello) are playing their respective stringed instruments with straw push brooms. The music seems brushed more than bowed except when someone takes a solo. Each of the players is a master musician. O’Connor’s quartets allow them to show off their virtuosity, but in the end, it’s the quality of the two quartets that matters most, and they are both damned good.

String Quartets No.'s 2 & 3

Rating:

 

We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong on the Internet. Please consider a donation to support our work as independent cultural critics and historians. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times. Thanks everyone.

//comments
//related
//Mixed media
//Blogs

Violin Virtuoso L. Subramaniam Mesmerizes in Rare New York Performance (Photos)

// Notes from the Road

"Co-presented by the World Music Institute, the 92Y hosted a rare and mesmerizing performance from India's violin virtuoso L. Subramaniam.

READ the article