Learn How

Help improve All About Jazz

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. For $20, we'll hide those pesky Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

338

Stellari String Quartet: Gocce Stellari

John Eyles By

Sign in to view read count
Stellari String Quartet: Gocce Stellari Over the years, Emanem has nobly championed the cause of improvising string players. Back in 2001, the label released the groundbreaking triple CD Strings with Evan Parker on which the majority of tracks actually featured strings without Parker's sax. Before that came Kent Carter string trio of bass, violin and viola. More recently, Emanem has released Arc, the trio of violin, cello and double-bass, and Trio of Uncertainty, consisting of Veryan Weston's piano plus cello and violin.

So it comes as no surprise that the label has now released this CD by Stellari String Quartet, comprising Philipp Wachsmann on violin, Charlotte Hug on viola, Marcio Mattos on cello and John Edwards on double-bass. Besides that line-up being a roll call of top-notch string improvisers, it is noteworthy for breaking away from the conventional (i.e. classical) string quartet line-up of two violins, viola and cello. Substituting the double-bass for one of the violins extends the spectrum of sounds this quartet can produce, adding more bottom and giving the music greater depth and solidity. Although the phrase "string quartet" carries connotations and raises certain cultural expectations, here it simply signifies a foursome of string players, nothing more.

Refreshingly, the music here seeks to neither emulate nor deliberately avoid conventional notions of the string quartet. Instead, each of the four players brings their own distinctive voice and approach to their instrument plus openness to the music produced by the others. Across four tracks recorded live in concert in Switzerland in May 2007 and three studio tracks recorded in London the previous September, the four voices interact and immerse themselves in the collective identity of the quartet.

Telltale trademark traces of the individuals remain evident— Wachsmann's soaring glissandi, Hug's simultaneous bowing of all four viola strings, the gravitas of Mattos's stately bowing, Edwards' percussive blows to the body of his bass—yet the individual voices are more often subsumed into a dialogue in which their contributions overlap both in time and in frequency, creating a whole greater than any of its parts. It is a fascinating exercise to try to remain focused on one player throughout, but ultimately that is as difficult as following one particular strand through a richly woven tapestry.


Track Listing: Pleione; Merope; Alcyone; Sterope; Mintaka; Alnitak; Alnilam.

Personnel: Philipp Wachsmann: violin; Charlotte Hug: viola; Marcio Mattos: cello; John Edwards: double-bass.

Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Emanem | Style: Free Improv/Avant-Garde


Shop

More Articles

Read #knowingishalfthebattle CD/LP/Track Review #knowingishalfthebattle
by Mark F. Turner
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Live In Brooklyn CD/LP/Track Review Live In Brooklyn
by Roger Farbey
Published: January 23, 2017
Read King Of Xhosa CD/LP/Track Review King Of Xhosa
by James Nadal
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Blooming Tall Phlox CD/LP/Track Review Blooming Tall Phlox
by Mark Sullivan
Published: January 23, 2017
Read Hear & Now CD/LP/Track Review Hear & Now
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: January 22, 2017
Read Known-Unknown CD/LP/Track Review Known-Unknown
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: January 22, 2017
Read "ReWrite of Spring" CD/LP/Track Review ReWrite of Spring
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 17, 2016
Read "Som før" CD/LP/Track Review Som før
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: June 4, 2016
Read "Ugly Beauty" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beauty
by Mark Corroto
Published: April 9, 2016
Read "Written in the Rocks" CD/LP/Track Review Written in the Rocks
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: March 8, 2016
Read "Ida Lupino" CD/LP/Track Review Ida Lupino
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 15, 2016
Read "Sunrain" CD/LP/Track Review Sunrain
by Geno Thackara
Published: November 25, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Get Jazz Near You via email!

Enjoy the convenience of receiving a comprehensive listing of jazz events in your area every Thursday. It's free!