CD Reviews: Jefferson Friedman

May 5, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle

It's a rare thrill to come across new music as exciting, vivacious and downright gorgeous as these two string quartets by young New York composer Jefferson Friedman. It's not just the notes themselves, although those are stunners in their own right - a mix of bubbly post-minimalist rhythmic play and ripe tonal harmonies overlaid with a splendid melodic gift. But what's also striking is how resourcefully and provocatively Friedman handles the quartet medium, splicing together traditional techniques of chords and counterpoint with an explosive rhythmic edge that makes those techniques sound endlessly surprising. He is helped in this by the superb performances of the Chiara String Quartet, which plays with demonic energy, as well as a lush ensemble sound that brings out the hidden depths of Friedman's harmonic language. For the club set, the disc also includes an electronic remix of each piece by the duo Matmos; for the graybeards among us, the originals are already plenty funkalicious on their own.

JEFFERSON FRIEDMAN

QUARTETS

CHIARA STRING QUARTET; MATMOS

NEW AMSTERDAM

$12.38

This article appeared on page P - 37 of the San Francisco Chronicle

San Francisco Chronicle