Ken Waxman, Jazz Word, 6 juin 2020

Means to personify some of the archetypal Commedia dell’arte characters, QB’s interpretation of the suite ranges from the full-fledged corybantic string rubbing on Capitano, the first “story”, to the harmonized and lyrical outpouring which defines Colombina, the subsequent track. From that point on every variety of conventional and extended technique is put to exceptional use. High-pitched jitters squeeze out skittish variations at points, while compelling surges from the lower-pitched strings sometimes reference a sense of high-powered modern swing. Through QB members perform the equivalent of tightrope walking, swaying and stretching timbres, but with enough safety net-like fusion so that there’s no chance of them failing. When personifying Isabella for instance, sawing reflections of one low tone face a pointed counter melody that eventually combines to express multiple tinctures on the color scale. Meantime the lively Zanni is probably the most Balkan of the tracks with its reed-like suggestions. The piece combines rhythmic cello plucks and dynamic violin squeaks to create a slipping and sliding terpsichorean feel. Overall, while cellist Bozzini sometimes fulfills the double bass function with string slaps, angled off-centre and off-key variables from all QB members mean that bouncing col legno emphasis frequently cements the performances. While spiccato string acceleration may dominate the final Ruzzante the dissonant pitches fade into tremolo overlapping signaling the end of the piece and the suite finale. Bagatelles which depend mostly on speed and col legno thumps, only an earlier composition, the multi-part Blanc dominant seems sufficiently fleshed out. Expressive with thinner squeals, the chamber music continuum is challenged throughout with a sneaky sectional counter motif.

… every variety of conventional and extended technique is put to exceptional use.