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Jefferson Friedman: Quartets

by Chiara String Quartet

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released April 26, 2011

Jefferson Friedman: Quartets, produced by GRAMMY-winning engineer, Judith Sherman, includes Friedman’s String Quartets Nos. 2 (1999) and 3 (2005), performed by the Chiara String Quartet (Rebecca Fischer and Julie Yoon, violins; Jonah Sirota, viola; Gregory Beaver, cello), plus two remixes of the quartets by electronica duo Matmos (Drew Daniel and Martin Schmidt). Released in Spring 2011, the disc was met with critical acclaim. The San Francisco Chronicle‘s Joshua Kosman stated, ”It’s a rare thrill to come across new music as exciting, vivacious and downright gorgeous as these two string quartets by young New York composer Jefferson Friedman”, while the Juilliard noted its ”bravura performance…recorded with impressive detail and veracity.”

Both quartets, written for and commissioned by the Chiara, reflect the long-standing relationship between the composer and performers. Parts of String Quartet No. 3 directly reflect this: ‘Epilogue/Lullaby’ is dedicated to the birth of a quartet member’s first child, and the love duet in ‘Act’ between the second violin and cello was written at the time of the engagement of those two quartet members. Yet the public response to the quartets is strong. Says The New York Times: “Mr. Friedman’s quartets are finding plenty of performances; they already deserve to be heard as classics of this decade.”

The remixes by Matmos sprang from a more recent musical friendship, which began when Jefferson Friedman created the string arrangements for the duo’s 2006 album, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast (Matador). For Friedman’s album, Matmos responded in kind and contributed two remixes which sample the Chiara’s recordings of String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3. Matmos Remix No. 1 (A Bruit Secret Mix) is an addictive dance track, while Matmos Remix No. 2 (Floor Plan Mix) is an enigmatic and haunting three-dimensional exploration of sound.

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