Sweet Austerity: All The Attacca Quartet’s Joys

Review by: Jens F. Laurson


Artistic Quality: 10

Sound Quality: 9

It’s been a trend among daring string quartets (and their marketing departments) to go back to concept-albums, recitals-on-disc, stringently and sometimes eclectically curated pieces of music meant to be listened to, rather than additions to the repertoire.

Some successful examples among string quartets are the Afiara Quartet, the Danish String Quartet, Brooklyn Rider, and now the Attacca Quartet (also from Brooklyn) with its new album on Sony titled (after Dowland) “Of All Joys”. It takes renaissance composers John Dowland (Flow my Tears), Orlando Gibbons (Fantasia a 6), Gregorio Allegri (Miserere), Luca Marenzio (Solo e pensos), John Bennet (Weep, o mine yes), and Clemens non Papa (Ego flos campia a 7), and brackets them very effectively in two batches with two different (but ultimately surprisingly similar) approaches to minimalism by Philip Glass (String Quartet No. 3 “Mishima”) and Arvo Pärt (Summa, Fratres).

It’s a tried-and-tested mix, but when done well it’s always bracing. And it is done very well here, played to perfection by the Attacca foursome, who absolutely nail the muted, earnest, sweet austerity of it all. The concept and performances work terrifically for intense listening but, happily, the disc is also entirely background-suited, were the occasion to call for it. A win-win-win.

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Recording Details:

Album Title: Of All Joys

JOHN DOWLAND: Flow my tears
LUCA MARENZIO: Solo e pensos
JOHN BENNET: Weep, o mine eyes
CLEMENS NON PAPA: Ego flos campia a 7
PHILIP GLASS: String Quartet No. 3 "Mishima"
ARVO PÄRT: Summa, Fratres

  • Sony - 194399360620
  • CD

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