Album Review: DISSONANCE (Diderot String Quartet)

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by Tony Frankel on September 28, 2018

in CD-DVD,Music


For utterly superb technique and ensemble intricacy and expression, look no further than Diderot (DEE-der-oht) String Quartet’s new release of Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19 in C Major, K. 465, commonly known as Dissonance (1785). Consistently remarkable is the perfect blend of gravitas and lyricism — seriousness without being erudite or histrionic, and a singing quality which appears continually channeled by intelligence, even wisdom.

The famously dark and, yes, dissonant adagio introduction is taken just slow enough to let that accessible eccentricity sink in — a pulsating ringing presentation made magical by first violin Adriane Post’s otherworldly entrance. When the musical sun comes out in the first movement’s allegro, rather than casually taking off as if into a wholly diverse work, as so many quartets do, Diderot keeps up a firm but sensitively dulcet tone. They take vigorous tempi when appropriate, but don’t play excessively fast just to show off. This mood held through the rest of the work.

Since Dissonance is played here on period instruments and bows, perhaps the awesome group is stimulated by the personal and private fondness Mozart had for Haydn, its dedicatee (for more on the group’s thoughts, see their Gazette). The bright fourth movement, which, like the first, is in sonata-allegro form, shows both the charisma and complexity of Mozart’s writing. Particularly effective is the way they gleefully glide into the second theme both times, first into E-Flat Major, and later, in the recap, into A-Flat Major, and how they added the charming coda like icing on a cake. The players — Johanna Novom, violin; Kyle Miller, viola; and Ms. Post’s husband Paul Dwyer with his thick and resonant cello playing – work off each other beautifully.

photos courtesy of the artists

Dissonance (Mozart’s String Quartet No. 19)
Diderot String Quartet
Bear Machine Records
4 tracks | 31:23
released August 24, 2018
available at Amazon and iTunes
for more info and tour dates, visit Diderot on Facebook

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