actuellecd

Review

Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, September 19, 2022

Moving from improvisation to interpretation, Quatuor Bozzini (QB) with violinists Alissa Chung and Clemens Markel violist Stéphanie Bozzini and cellist Isabelle Bozzini bring their proven skills in dealing with and commissioning contemporary concert piece to four string quartet combination by American composer Tom Johnson. Concerned with minimalism, repetition and mathematical techniques, three of the creations are divided into tiny shards, some as brief as 14 seconds, with the turnarounds and breaks in all almost as short. Overall the performances are vastly more tonal and circular than those on the other discs. However it’s a testament to the QB’s skill that the four make rhythmic and fluid what could have been a series of academic exercises. The five-part Combinations for String Quartet for instance that opens the disc, is a monument to simplicity and beauty. Through many unison sections and seemingly endless pattern repetitions, sprightly and floating responses enter into the unfolding. The cellist even manages to suggest a foot-tapping rhythm. Moving on from the harsh and buzzing interruption in the fourth section, the piece ends with warmer, more moderate developments. Additionally, the concluding seven-part Formulas for String Quartet evolves with same sort of layered and lyrical interface. Including harder bass clef strokes and back-and-forth linear thrust, the QB creates something that is lyrical and almost flowery, but not at the expense of conscious projections. The penultimate VII confirms this with speedy glissandi that move from allegro to staccato, and the concluding VIII that displays slightly nervous, but never dissonant timbres that connect appropriately.

… it’s a testament to the QB’s skill that the four make rhythmic and fluid what could have been a series of academic exercises.