The Quatuor Molinari (Olga Ranzenhofer, violin; Antoine Bareil, violin; Frédéric Lambert, viola and Pierre-Alain Bouvrette, cello) launches its second album dedicated to the complete string quartets of Philip Glass on the ATMA Classique label. The album features three trios by the giant of minimalist music Philip Glass, which surprise with their musical range. Performed with the precision and rigour already associated with the Molinari Quartet, these scores are sure to satisfy Glass admirers.
From the very first notes, there’s no mistaking the composer: indeed, there are no real surprises in this album as far as the works performed are concerned. Glass’s signature swirling arpeggios, repeated note sequences and mysterious, uplifting atmospheres are instantly recognizable. This is not to say that the album is redundant, on the contrary. The three string quartets on this album all have their own distinctive elements.
In String Quartet no. 5, the last two movements feature beautiful melodic lines and an interesting harmonic progression, all played by the cello. String Quartet no. 6, for its part, contains fast, precisely played rhythmic passages, as well as long moments played in unison. Finally, String Quartet no. 7 is a single long movement, ending in a long decrescendo.
The Molinari Quartet’s interpretation is well-balanced and nuanced (there are pianissimo passages, barely audible). Although the works performed are entirely recognizable as the composer’s, the artistic choices are judicious and pleasing.