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Bryant Park Quartet

by Bryant Park Quartet

Featuring our own arrangements from Josquin to Schubert to bluegrass, along with powerful works by Janacek and Kurtag. All these pieces are inspired by the theme of love and loss.
Genre: Classical: String Quartet
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  Song Share Time Download
1. El Grillo
Bryant Park Quartet
1:19 $0.99
2. Scaramella
Bryant Park Quartet
1:06 $0.99
3. Mille Regretz
Bryant Park Quartet
1:42 $0.99
4. Officium Breve in Memoriam Andreae Szervansky
Bryant Park Quartet
13:39 $2.99
5. An Den Mond
Bryant Park Quartet & Patrick Romano
3:14 $0.99
6. Der Erlkonig
Bryant Park Quartet & Patrick Romano
4:02 $0.99
7. String Quartet No. 1: I. Adagio (Con Moto)
Bryant Park Quartet
3:40 $0.99
8. String Quartet No. 1: II. Con Moto
Bryant Park Quartet
4:00 $0.99
9. String Quartet No. 1: III. Con Moto (Vivo) Andante
Bryant Park Quartet
3:55 $0.99
10. String Quartet No. 1: IV. Con Moto (Adagio) Piu Mosso
Bryant Park Quartet
5:01 $0.99
11. Jerry's Breakdown
Bryant Park Quartet
2:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The making of our first CD has been a much anticipated arrival for us. We thought our debut album should reflect the range of music that we love, and the variety that we present in concert. So, we decided on an eclectic mix of everything from Renaissance vocal arrangements to bluegrass jams. A little unorthodox, yes, but to tie it all together, each composer’s work on this album speaks to love’s loss. Kind of a downer? Well, not really, because between love and loss there is a whole world of passion, which is where all of life’s drama unfolds.
To begin with, we arranged 3 of Josquin’s madrigals. The poems speak for themselves.

El Grillo – The Cricket
The cricket is a good singer
and he sings for a long time
Give him a drink so he can go on singing
But he doesn`t do what the other birds do
who after singing a little
just go elsewhere.
The cricket is always steadfast
When it is hottest,
he sings solely for love.

Scaramella is going off to war
With lance and buckler
Scaramella is out on a spree
With boot and shoe

Mille Regretz – A Thousand Regrets
A thousand regrets at deserting you
and leaving behind your loving face,
I feel so much sadness and such painful distress,
that it seems to me my days will soon dwindle away.

Kurtág’s Officium Breve in Memoriam Andreae Szervánsky (1989) follows, but for the first few seconds, the sounds of the cello are suggestive of a renaissance timbre, almost as if they were the beginning to another Josquin madrigal. Kurtág’s work, which is in 15 continuous short movements, is not only in homage to his late friend Szervánsky, but also pays tribute to composer Anton Webern. Heavily influenced by Webern’s style of microcosmic composition, each movement encompasses a vastly different sound world, each with a very distinctive flavor. Dynamically it ranges from the quietest possible to the most raucous of string sounds, the latter of which is heard at its most extreme in the penultimate movement. In muted response, the last movement quotes directly an exquisite melody composed by Szervánsky, but is left unfinished here, leaving the listener to experience loss by the painfully incomplete ending.

Schubert’s An Den Mond and Der Erlkönig were arranged by Anna Elashvili for the Bryant Park Quartet and tenor Patrick Romano. There are few works that express loss with such heartbreak as Schubert’s Der Erlkönig. In this poem, there are several characters telling the story: the narrator, the father, the son, and the Erlking. This arrangement for strings strives to create sonorities that mirror the voices of the characters. The hauntingly beautiful An Den Mond was chosen to complement the unrelenting angst of Der Erlkönig.
An Den Mond – To The Moon
Pour, dear moon, pour your silver glitter
down through the greenery of beeches,
where phantasms and dream-shapes
are always floating before me!

Reveal yourself, that I may find the place
where my darling often sat,
and often forgot, in the wind of beech and linden trees,
the golden city.

Reveal yourself, that I may enjoy the bushes
which swept coolness to her,
and that I may lay a wreath upon that pasture
where she listened to the brook.

Then, dear moon, then take up your veil again,
and mourn your friend,
and weep through the clouds
as one abandoned weeps!

Der Erlkönig – The Erlking
Who rides, so late, through night and wind?
It is the father with his child.
He has the boy well in his arm
He holds him safely, he keeps him warm.

“My son, why do you hide your face so anxiously?”
“Father, do you not see the Erlking?
The Erlking with crown and tail?”
“My son, it’s a wisp of fog.”

“You dear child, come, go with me!
Very lovely games I’ll play with you;
Some colorful flowers are on the beach,
My mother has some golden robes.”

“My father, my father, and don’t you hear
What the Erlking quietly promises me?”
“Be calm, stay calm, my child;
The wind is rustling through withered leaves.”

“Do you want to come with me, pretty boy?
My daughters shall wait on you finely;
My daughters will lead the nightly dance,
And rock and dance and sing you to sleep.”

“My father, my father, and don’t you see there
The Erlking’s daughters in the gloomy place?”
“My son, my son, I see it clearly:
There shimmer the old willows so grey.”

“I love you, your beautiful form entices me;
And if you’re not willing, then I will use force.”
“My father, my father, he’s grabbing me now!
The Erlking has done me harm!”

It horrifies the father; he swiftly rides on,
He holds the moaning child in his arms,
Reaches the farm with trouble and hardship;
In his arms, the child was dead.

As a musical climax to our CD, Janáček’s Kreutzer Sonata is perhaps the most dramatic in its scope. This piece is based on Leo Tolstoy’s novella, The Kreutzer Sonata, in which the narrator recalls his jealousy-stricken love story to a passenger on a train. In the story, he struggles between feelings of trusting love and paranoid jealousy because of his wife’s relationship with a violinist with whom she is playing Beethoven’s “Kreutzer Sonata.” Tolstoy never divulges explicitly whether an affair was in fact taking place, but (spoiler alert!) the narrator ultimately loses his mind, and kills his wife and her suspected lover. Janáček’s depiction of this story can be heard clearly from his train motives and longing melodies, to the violent finale that quickly succumbs to a quiet deathlike ending.

Well, we couldn’t very well end the CD on such a downer, so we wanted to leave you with a most special dessert courtesy of Ben Russell – his electrifying bluegrass arrangement of Jerry Reed’s Jerry’s Breakdown. In this case the breakdown is a joyous one, so please join us and click your heels to this barn-dance of a festive ender.



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