Speaking Extravagantly: String Quartets of David Stock
Speaking Extravagantly: String Quartets of David Stock. Cuarteto Latinoamericano: Saul Bitran, Aron Bitran, violins; Javier Montiel, viola; Alvaro Bitran, cello. (Innova 563)
David Stock, a professor at Duquesne University and the founding conductor of the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble from 1976 to 1999, has written primarily for orchestra; his catalog includes a violin concerto premiered by Andres Cardenes and the Pittsburgh Symphony under Lorin Maazel. These three quartets, spanning 1981 to 1997, survey Stock's mature manner on a smaller, more accessible scale. The disc opens appealingly with his String Quartet No. 3. Stock's sound world is very much that of the late Shostakovich quartets; the music is sometimes astringent, but no more so than Bartók, with some leavening lyricism and an unfailing sense of action. Here and in the other two works, Stock loves pizzicato, tremolo effects, and sudden contrasts between jagged intensity and hushed suspense. His Quartet No. 2, "Speaking Extravagantly" (an allusion to a Charles Ives definition of music), employs more fragmented material, the players swarming around and pecking at longer, quizzical atonal utterances. Quartet No. 4 pairs a fast 12-tone movement with a slow, haunting lament based on a repeating, descending figure. Cuarteto Latinoamericano plays it all with superb concentration and verve.
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