As a part of this year’s Fringe, Adelaide’s Zephyr Quartet released their latest CD, holding two launches in order to accommodate their many fans.
Although they also play works from the existing string quartet repertoire, the Zephyr quartet specialise in new music, much of which is written by members of the group. This latest CD consists entirely of works written either by Belinda Gehlert (violin, four pieces), Emily Tulloch (violin, two pieces), or Hilary Kleinig (cello, four pieces). Lillian-Terri Dahlenberg played viola on the CD but, at the launch, they introduced their new violist, Jason Thomas, the first male musician to join the group.
The inspiration for this latest CD is an exciting artistic two way street, a to and fro of ideas between creative minds, encouraging each other to explore and embrace, and then respond to the imagination and expressive responses of the other. Some of the music was composed in response to poetry, and some of the poetry was written in response to music. The result is a wonderful collection of pieces that are presented on the CD, along with a booklet containing all of the poems so that the listener can relate to both and, perhaps, discern what each saw in the work of the other on each selection.
Rob Walker, Yahia Al Samawy, Mike Ladd, Nicki Bloom, Gary Soto, and Finegean Kruckemeyer are the poets involved in this work, contributing a very diverse collection of poetry. Adding another of the Arts, the cover photography is by visual artist, Barb Coddington.
The first track, Ewen Ponds is a gentle, flowing piece evoking still waters, and then the CD takes its title from the second of the ten tracks, a piece that hints briefly at klezmer melodic ideas. Track 5, Skyroads, brought to mind the music of Phillip Glass, a personal favourite composer, and track 7, Air, had all of the four playing harmonics resulting in a fragile, brittle sound that seemed to float in the air like stratus clouds extending across the sky. There is so much excellence, both in the compositions and in the performances, as recorded and also played live at the launch.
The Quartet have built up a large following over the years, and this latest CD is sure to delight chamber quartet enthusiasts and new listeners alike. It will be a valued addition to any collection.
Reviewed by Barry Lenny, Arts Editor, Glam Adelaide.
Venue: Wheatsheaf Hotel, Thebarton
Duration: 90 mins