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Kronos Quartet : Winter Was Hard

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Details

  • Performer: Aulis Sallinen, Terry Riley, Arvo Part, Anton Webern, John Zorn, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005IZ0
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,181 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I love the Kronos. I love their pluck and their popularity with a young audience. I love them for opening ears to contemporary music. But sometimes I wish they'd prove that they can get less edgy when the music calls for it. Sometimes I hear them forcing the music bar by bar and missing whatever unity the whole piece should have.

On this CD, the weakest performances are Arvo Part's Fratres, which doesn't want to be overinterpreted, and Anton Webern's Six Bagatelles, which isn't and shouldn't sound like minimalism. Lots of other quartets have recorded the Webern, in case you want to compare.

The best performances, IMHO, are Aulis Sallinen's brief and beautiful Winter Was Hard, and Alfred Schnittke's Quarter #3. Frankly I didn't expect the Kronos to handle Schnittke well, but they do. In fact, this is the best Schnittke I've ever heard, and worth the price of the whole CD.

The Terry Riley piece reminds me of the title of William Faulkner's most famous novel.

John Zorn's Forbidden Fruit is probably a durian, an acquired taste; I'd say the Kronos does it well...if I were sure what "well" might be. Unlike other reviewers, I find the Barber Adagio unconvincing; should it sing more or should it sob?

This is a fairly early Kronos disk, recorded when Joan Jeanrenaud was still the cellist of the quartet. It's certainly a performance well worth hearing and keeping in your collection, even if some of the tracks need to be skipped. And if you ever have a chance to hear the Kronos live, jump at it! They have wonderful stage presence.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a terrific CD. From Webern to John Lurie, to John Zorn's wild "Forbidden Fruit," to a stunning rendition of Barber's Adagio in it's original String Quartet form, this album rocks. Okay, probably not the most appropriate description of a string quartet album, but it does--it rocks. I think this is my favorite recording of the Barber Adagio. Some challenging pieces, but for anyone that loves contemporary classical music, this is a great set.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I already had this one on tape, and now on CD. Kronos Quartet is exceptional. This is a good place to start if you're not familiar with their sometimes challenging music. Outstanding!
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By Jenn Turner on September 23, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I think this album should recieve 5 stars. I think this because Forbidden Fruit by Zorn is a great piece of music which everyone should be familiar with. He quotes some great stuff in the work...among other things an excerpt from Beethoven's Grosse Fugue for String quartet. The rest of the music on this CD is fantastic. I feel the reviewer below gave three stars due to a inability to understand Zorn. But if you don't fall under that category or if you are willing to listen and be openminded I reccomend this CD without reserve
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Format: Audio CD
This album was my introduction to the Kronos Quartet. It is as good an introduction as I've heard. It illustrates both the positive and negative aspects of this talented quartet.
Some of the works on this recording are quite wonderful. Most exciting to me is the excerpt from Terry Riley's Salome Dances for Piece. The movement is exciting and stunningly played. It is also interesting to compare the version here with the version on the Kronos' recording of the complete work. If you listen to them side by side you can hear the extent of improvisation in the work. The most interesting thing is that, despite the improvisations, the work has a similar impact in each version.
Other gems on the CD include the Salonen title track, the Piazolla pieces, and a passionate reading of the Barber Adagio, perhaps the best I've ever heard. The Kronos also does a fine job with the Webern, though the competition here is much more fierce. And they also do a great job with the Schnittke Quartet, though I have always found the Russian composer's work hard to get close to.
Some of the other pieces are less successful. The quartet version of the Part Fratres is not bad, but does not have the impact of the all cello version. The Jon Lurie piece is a throwaway. And I have never understood the world's fascination with John Zorn. Just don't get it.
All in all, this is a good introduction to the work of the Kronos and most interesting for an alternate version of a major score by Terry Riley. But it's not a must have.
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