String Quartet No. 4

Andrew List’s String Quartet No. 4 deserves a place in the repertoire of any quartet playing living composers. His music is atmospheric, and gives a misty sense of a broad horizon (not unlike one of his major influences, Bernard Rands), conveying melodic influences of Bartok and the dying dinosaur bits of the Rite of Spring. He also incorporates jazzy inflections, both rhythmically and harmonically, and a fair bit of sul ponticello playing (on the bridge, for a glassy, otherworldly sound). The Scherzo second movement is a moto perpetuo dynamo which slams into an abrupt stop. The third movement gives each player a moment to shine then blend. It has fugal passages, and ultimately a poignant language reminiscent of Barber, slowly dying away into a silvery trill. It also has the gift of not being overwhelmingly long. List seems to have a clearer handle on form than many of his contemporaries.

Read the full review on the Boston Music Intelligencer website…