Robert Carl: Music For Strings

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Album Name Length Format Sample Rate Price
Robert Carl: Music For Strings 1:07:38 $11.98
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# Track Title Length Format Sample Rate Price
1 Open for String Trio 17:06 44.1/16 Album only
2 Violin Sonata No. 2: I. Rondo: Intimations 6:27 $1.49 Buy
3 Violin Sonata No. 2: II. Variations: Vision 12:38 44.1/16 Album only
4 Violin Sonata No. 2: III. Chaconne-Berceuse: State of Grace 8:19 44.1/16 Album only
5 String Quartet No. 2: I. Fear of Death 6:00 $1.49 Buy
6 String Quartet No. 2: II. Hymn: In Growing Awareness of Beauty's Presence 10:27 44.1/16 Album only
7 String Quartet No. 2: III. Love of Life 6:41 $1.49 Buy

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Adaskin String Trio: Emlyn Ngai, violin; Steve Larson, viola; Mark Fraser, cello; Katie Lansdale, violin; John McDonald, piano; Annie Trépanier, violin

Robert Carl (b. 1954) possesses one of the widest and most varied expressive ranges of any composer of his generation. This isn't the disc to prove that, however. In the string music here we focus in on what I think of as the central core of Carl's aesthetic: the devoutly ruminative music with expression markings like "achingly" and "fragile." In his string music, Carl aligns himself with Beethoven and Ives as a composer who asks musical questions, who frankly frames his own spiritual journey in sounds with all its doubts, hungers, epiphanies, and acquiescences.

At the end of Open (1998) or Carl's Second String Quartet (2000–01), we know the composer's response to the existential questions of life as definitively as we can know them at the end of Ives's Fourth Symphony, or Beethoven's Ninth. Carl can be playful, satirical, intellectual, or picturesque in his other works, but something about the soulful nature of strings makes him express his innermost yearnings through them. And these three works, written within a three-year period, are even more closely related than this implies. Their motivic material seems cut from the same cloth: the imperious dotted-rhythm motive at the beginning of Open, the thirds encircling each other in the "Angel-Skating" Sonata (Violin Sonata No. 2) (1999), the leaping lines at the beginning of the Second Quartet, are all based on pairs of interlocking intervals, whose contours Carl weaves into tapestries whose underlying unity is felt viscerally without being analytically contrived.