Frank: Hilos, Adagio Para Amantani, Quijotadas / Alias Chamber Ensemble

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Gabriela Lena Frank is the real deal: a modern composer with a personal style, one that manages to integrate a wide range of sounds and performing techniques into a cohesive language that unapologetically includes melody and tonal harmony without ever sounding anachronistic. She clearly manages to remain true to herself, but she doesn't have to write down to her listeners in order to share her thoughts and feelings. This is just good music.

Hilos is a quartet for clarinet, violin, cello, and piano inspired by Peruvian weaving. The music is colorful, vibrant, and consistently inventive; the Latin element is pervasive, but not cheap, and not overwhelming. Danza de los Saqsampillos is an arrangement for two marimbas of an earlier piano piece, and it sounds like a blast to play; Adagio para Amantaní (for cello and piano) is a soulful meditation inspired by an island landscape in the middle of Lake Titicaca. Quijotadas is a string quartet based on Cervantes' Don Quixote. Its second movement, Sequidilla para la Mancha, has to be one of the most charming pieces of its kind since the scherzo of Ravel's Quartet, which it resembles in some ways (lots of pizzicato).

The performances, with the composer's participation where the piano joins in, and presumably her supervision where it does not, are uniformly excellent, and so are the sonics. A wonderful disc of inventive, fresh, characterful music, plain and simple.

--David Hurwitz,

Product Description:

  • Catalog Number: 8559645

  • UPC: 636943964521

  • Label: Naxos

  • Composer: Gabriela Lena Frank

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: ALIAS Chamber Ensemble