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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Six String Quartets'
Artist - Elena Ruehr

For Guggenheim Fellow composer Elena Ruehr the appeal of the string quartet lies in the ability of four instruments to express an infinite range of emotional possibilities, to communicate across time.

Her six string quartets attest to her enthusiasm for musical time-travel: echoes of Perotin, Bach, Mozart, Beethoven, Dvorak, Schoenberg and jazz are there, but the musical language is purely her own.

Elena's Six String Quartets are a magnum opus, three of them commissioned by the Cypress String Quartet, two by the Rockport Chamber Music Festival, and one an ASCAP Award winner.

Sumptuously scored and full of soaring melodies and piquant harmonies, released this past February 16th, 2018 via AVIE Records, Six String Quartets featuring Laura Harrington are as good, as clean, as vibrant as I've heard such works in the past decade.

CD 1:
String Quartet No. 5 (Bel Canto) (26:25)
Commissioned by the Cypress String Quartet
1. I. Rebels in the vents (1:18)
2. II. Three generals (1:05)
3. III. Esmeralda and Joachim (2:37)
4. IV. The accompanist dies (1:39)
5. V. Simon Thibault makes coq au vin (0:50)
6. VI. Gen translates for Roxanne (2:54)
7. VII. Carmen studies grammar (2:56)
8. VIII. Gen arranges a meeting (1:35)
9. IX. Cesar sings (1:15)
10. X. In the garden (10:19)

String Quartet No. 3 (23:32)
Commissioned by the Rockport Chamber Music Festival
11. I. Clay Flute (3:55)
12. II. The Abbey (8:55)
13. III. How She Danced (4:12)
14. IV. Bell Call (6:31)

String Quartet No. 1 (20:49)
Winner ASCAP Award
15. I. Patterns (7:39)
16. II. Interlude (3:35)
17. III. Let’s Sit Beneath the Stars (5:27)
18. IV. Estampie (4:09)

Total time CD 1: 70:57

CD 2:
1. Song of the Silkie (String Quartet No. 2) (15:21)
Commissioned by the Rockport Chamber Music Festival
String Quartet No. 6 (23:20)
Commissioned by the Cypress String Quartet
2. I. Restless (7:15)
3. II. For Todd (3:20)
4. III. Idée fixe (7:30)
5. IV. Finale (5:18)

String Quartet No. 4 (30:31)
Commissioned by the Cypress String Quartet
6. I. Sonata: Introduzione; Andante con moto (7:27)
7. II. Aria: Andante (7:04)
8. III. Minuet: Grazioso (7:57)
9. IV. Finale: Allegro molto (8:04)

Total time CD 2: 69:24

Listening intently to Ruehr's work here allows you to be transported to a whole other plane. One where her music, these string works are the only sustainable life source and where you would feel lost without it in your life.

Throughout these works, where each one develop's from relatively simple structures, such as a five-note motif, two perfect fifths a half-step apart, a ten-note phrase and such, your enjoyment levels escalate along with their individual evolution.

As you would expect, each track comprises gentle flowing melodies with tides, dynamics, and warm harmonies making these six string orchestral pieces wholly and continually attractive and satisfying.

CD Purchase Link