La Folia

The British Metier label is another of those steadfast one-man independents to which I am indebted for the discovery, inter alia of this remarkable Australian’s music. David Lefeber, producer, also engineer his releases… Taking Flight, a string quartet, leads off the programme. It’s performed by the Kreutzer quartet, whose recordings of four Catalan string quartets I covered in La Folia 3:2, another Metier release which, again, (and to say it again) I’d not have wanted to miss.

The title work, the string quartet Taking Flight, reveals two qualities which in less gifted hands would likely comprise an odd-fellowship wandering into incompatibility. The aural imagery sparkles. The music’s mercuriality sets one adrift in a house of mirrors, and yet the tone is serious impinging on tragic – a marvel in the hearing, and thus, I think, a masterpiece. It delights to report that Taking Flight’s strong performance is by the same Kreutzer Quartet that blew me away via the four Catalan string quartets abovementioned.

Traceries, for violin and piano, Impresa Amorosa, for piano, and Arcosolia, for violin and piano, confirms that avian seriousness one detects in Taking Flight, a quality that seems on early acquaintance so essential an aspect of the composer’s aesthetic. Its epigrammatic texts from the Greek Anthology, the six-part Aster, for soprano, flute and string quartet, reveals in several of its moments tissue-thin textures no less likely to shred as any of these wonderfully commendable creations. Great performances all, and nicely recorded.

—Grant Chu Covell