As the global reputation, reach, and repertoire of Montréal’s Quatuor Bozzini has grown over the last two decades, one thing that hasn’t changed is the peerless string quartet’s dedication to performing the work of composers from its Canadian homeland. The Serbian-born Ana Sokolović has lived in Québec since 1992, and this collection underlines her unique sensibility, deriving ideas from her engagement with theater, ballet, and folk music.
The centerpiece of the album is her three-part Commedia dell’arte, with each three-movement work named for and inspired by different characters of the Italian theatrical tradition, privileging evocation provided by extended and percussive techniques over traditional structures. Capitano, the first movement from the first part, is wonderfully strident and a bit unreliable, reflecting the titular character’s boastful yet cowardly personality, while Zanni conveys a trickster persona in its jagged, shape-shifting design. Yet the entire work succeeds even without knowing such references. Even two miniatures — Ghost 1 and Ghost 2 — are marked by a quirky, sonically imaginative construction, arranging disparate notions in dynamic, visceral patterns, all performed by with typical brio and sensitivity by the Bozzinis.