Takács, Assad, Labro / Takács Quartet

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Producer Bob Attiyeh writes: This album helps honor and celebrate the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the extraordinary Takács Quartet.Bryce Dessner’s Circles for String Quartet and...

Producer Bob Attiyeh writes: This album helps honor and celebrate the upcoming 50th Anniversary of the extraordinary Takács Quartet.

Bryce Dessner’s Circles for String Quartet and Bandoneón opens our album on track 1. Luminous, track 2 on our album, explodes with Clarice’s interpretation of the life-affirming power of Brazilian jazz.  The percussive piano introduction launches the listener into the joyous syncopated rhythms and arching melodic lines associated with the genre. Clarice, performing both voice and piano in this version, wrote Luminous as part of her Pendulum Suite. Julien’s Meditation No. 1, track 3 on our album, continues the trajectory initiated by Astor Piazzolla and Dino Saluzzi when they launched the bandoneón beyond its earlier role in Argentine folk music.

Cravo e Canela (Clove and Cinnamon) follows on track 4. This is a song by Milton Nascimento, one of Brazil’s most celebrated songwriters. Clarice’s arrangement and performance breathes fresh energy into the song through her improvisation and innovative vocal techniques. This was a treat to record, as I think you will understand when you listen. J and Helen Schlichting kindly enabled Yarlung to commission Constellation, a three movement work for violin and piano, performed together in this recording on track 5.  Clarice wrote for Harumi on violin and for herself on piano. The work celebrates Clarice’s nuclear family of four.

Harumi has always loved the music of Kaija Saariaho and suggested recording her Nocturne for solo violin as a part of this project. Saariaho wrote Nocturne in 1994 in preparation for her violin concerto Graal théâtre. She dedicated Nocturne to Witold Lutoslawski. I knew that Saariaho was struggling with terminal brain cancer and she died on June 2nd, 2023. I loved her and miss her and dedicate this album to Kaija Saariaho, her husband Jean-Baptiste Barrière, and their wonderful family.

Clarice’s Clash, our final track on the album, is the hardest to describe. Clarice has been increasingly interested in tensions within the social fabric of our society, especially as exacerbated by incendiary politicians, climate change, mass migration and refugee issues. Clash is not program music and does not tell a specific story or illuminate a specific argument. But it does embody some of these same social struggles as expressed by the string quartet and bandoneón...its beauty emerges as the stronger and unifying force, giving us hope for the future.  As with all the music in this album, this too was recorded in one take.

Product Description:

  • Release Date: March 08, 2024

  • UPC: 198015596912

  • Catalog Number: YAR59691

  • Label: Yarlung Records

  • Number of Discs: 1

  • Period: Contemporary

  • Composer: Clarice Assad, Kaija Saariaho, Bryce Dessner, Julien Labro, Milton Nascimiento

  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Takács Quartet

  • Performer: Julien Labro, Clarice Assad