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25 Years: Retrospective Box set

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Box set, October 27, 1998
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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Seems like only yesterday the Kronos Quartet stepped up their career as musical mavericks with a coveted, wide-open contract with Nonesuch Records. Now it's Nonesuch's turn to give Kronos the big-package nod, gathering key works recorded by the group--from younger composers and time-tested veterans alike--into this 10-CD box set. As one might expect, the set is stuffed with contrasts, from the first CD, with its 11-part, upstepping John Adams suite and then the far more solemn Missa Syllabica from Arvo Pärt. Nearly 20 of these pieces here were composed expressly for Kronos, pitched and sculpted for their easily-racked mixture of straightforward string quartet roles and intelligently restructured approaches to the even the simplest gestures. Perhaps most key here is George Crumb's Black Angels, in large part due to Crumb's role in inspiring David Harrington to form Kronos 25 years ago. Crumb's music spirals and chases through the air, engaging high pitches and fast pacings as if they were ends in themselves. Gone from this set are most of the short snippets that have filled some of Kronos's other fine single CD recordings. In abundance instead are some of the legendary works: Morton Feldman's long, endlessly patient Piano and String Quartet (with Aki Takahashi), Steve Reich's unnerving Different Trains, and Henryk Górecki's String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2. There are also some of the astounding Eastern European works from Night Prayers as well, including the stunning Quartet No. 4 from Sofia Gubaidulina. And of course there are the Kronos biggie pieces: Philip Glass's works fill one CD, and so do Terry Riley's. What's more, Riley's Cadenza on the Night Plain and "G Song" are presented here in entirely fresh, new recordings. What the listener gets is a huge block of music, full of shifting colors and textures but perfectly apt in giving a wide-angle vantage on what Kronos has done for contemporary music. --Andrew Bartlett

Review

[This box set] does an impressive job of documenting the group's history while also doing justice to a wide range of musical styles of the last quarter of the 20th century. -- Los Angeles Times

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Judah to Ocean
  2. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Toot Nipple
  3. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Dogjam
  4. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Pavane: She's So Fine
  5. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Rag the Bone
  6. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Habanera
  7. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Stubble Crochet
  8. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Hammer & Chisel
  9. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Alligator Escalator
  10. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Standchen: The Little Serenade
  11. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Judah to Ocean (Reprise)
  12. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Fratres
  13. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Psalom
  14. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Summa
  15. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Missa Syllabica: Kyrie
  16. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Gloria
  17. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Credo
  18. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Sanctus
  19. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Agnus Dei
  20. John's Book of Alleged Dances (1994): Ite, missa est

Disc: 2

  1. Traveling Music: 1. Gentle, easy
  2. Traveling Music: 2. Moderate
  3. Traveling Music: 3. Driving
  4. Song of Twenty Shadows
  5. Five Tango Sensations: Asleep
  6. Five Tango Sensations: Loving
  7. Five Tango Sensations: Anxiety
  8. Five Tango Sensations: Despertar
  9. Five Tango Sensations: Fear
  10. Five Tango Sensations: Four, for Tango

Disc: 3

  1. Piano And String Quartet (1985) - Various Artists

Disc: 4

  1. Quartet # 4 (Buczak, 1989): I
  2. Quartet # 4 (Buczak, 1989): II
  3. Quartet # 4 (Buczak, 1989): III
  4. Mishima Quartet, Quartet #3 (1985): 1957 - Award Montage
  5. Mishima Quartet, Quartet #3 (1985): November 25 - Ichigaya
  6. Mishima Quartet, Quartet #3 (1985): 1934 - Grandmother and Kimitake
  7. Mishima Quartet, Quartet #3 (1985): 192 - Body Building
  8. Mishima Quartet, Quartet #3 (1985): Blood Oath
  9. Mishima Quartet, Quartet #3 (1985): Mishima/Closing
  10. Company, Quartet #2 (1983): I
  11. Company, Quartet #2 (1983): II
  12. Company, Quartet #2 (1983): III
  13. Company, Quartet #2 (1983): IV
  14. Quartet #5 (1991): I
  15. Quartet #5 (1991): II
  16. Quartet #5 (1991): III
  17. Quartet #5 (1991): IV
  18. Quartet #5 (1991): V

Disc: 5

  1. The Dreams & Prayers of Isaac the Blind: Prelude: Calmo, sospeso
  2. The Dreams & Prayers of Isaac the Blind: I. Agitato - Con fucco - Maestoso - Senza misura, oscilante
  3. The Dreams & Prayers of Isaac the Blind: II. Teneramente - Ruvido - Presto
  4. The Dreams & Prayers of Isaac the Blind: III. Calmo, sospeso - Allego pesante
  5. The Dreams & Prayers of Isaac the Blind: Postlude: Lento, liberamente
  6. Quartet #4 (1993)
  7. Mugam Sayagi (1993)

Disc: 6

  1. Quasi una fantasia (Quartet #2), Op.64 (1990-91): I. Largo (Sostenuto - Mesto)
  2. Quasi una fantasia (Quartet #2), Op.64 (1990-91): II. DecisoEnergico (Marcatissimo sempre)
  3. Quasi una fantasia (Quartet #2), Op.64 (1990-91): III. Arioso: Adagio cantabile
  4. Quasi una fantasia (Quartet #2), Op.64 (1990-91): IV. Allegro (Sempre con grande passione e molto marcato)
  5. Already It is Dusk (Quartet #1), Op.62 (1988)

Disc: 7

  1. Different Trains: America Before The War
  2. Different Trains: Europe During The War
  3. Different Trains: America After The War
  4. Black Angels: I. Departure - 1. Thenody I: Night Of The Electric Insects - 2. Sounds Of Bones And Flutes - 3. Lost Bells - 4. Devil-Music - 5. Danse Macabre
  5. Black Angels: II. Absence - 6. Pavana Lachrymae - 7. Threnody II: Black Angels! - 8. Sarabanda de la Muerte Oscura - 9. Losts Bells (Echo)
  6. Black Angels: III. Return - 10. God Music - 11. Ancient Voices - 12. Ancient Voices (Echo) - 13. Thenody III: Night Of The Electric Insects

Disc: 8

  1. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): Introduction
  2. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): Cadenza: Violin I
  3. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): Where Was Wisdom When We Went West?
  4. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): Cadenza: Viola
  5. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): March of the Old Timers Reefer Division
  6. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): Cadenza: Violin II
  7. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): Tuning to Rolling Thunder
  8. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): The Night Cry of Black Buffalo Woman
  9. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): Cadenza: Cello
  10. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): Gathering of the Spiral Clan
  11. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): Captain Jack Has the Last Word
  12. Cadenza on the Night Plain (1984): G Song
  13. Salome Dances for Peace (1985-86) - III. The Gift: Echoes of Primordial Tim
  14. Salome Dances for Peace (1985-86) - III. The Gift: Mongolian Winds
  15. V. Good Medicine: Good Medicine Dance

Disc: 9

  1. Quartet No. 2 (1981): I. Moderato
  2. Quartet No. 2 (1981): II. Agitato
  3. Quartet No. 2 (1981): III. Mesto
  4. Quartet No. 2 (1981): IV. Moderato
  5. Quartet No. 4 (1989): I. Lento
  6. Quartet No. 4 (1989): II. Allegro
  7. Quartet No. 4 (1989): III. Lento
  8. Quartet No. 4 (1989): IV. Vivace
  9. Quartet No. 4 (1989): V. Lento
  10. Collected Songs Where Every Verse Is Filled With Grief (1984-85)

Disc: 10

  1. Jabiru Dreaming, Quartet #11 (1990): I. Deciso
  2. Jabiru Dreaming, Quartet #11 (1990): II. Amoroso
  3. Quartet #8 (1969): I. Con dolore
  4. Quartet #8 (1969): II. Risoluto; calmo
  5. Quartet #8 (1969): III. Con dolore
  6. Quartet #8 (1969): IV. Con precisione
  7. Quartet #8 (1969): V. Con dolore
  8. From Ubirr (1994)
  9. Tragedy at the Opera (1995)
  10. White Man Sleeps Quartet #1: First Dance
  11. White Man Sleeps Quartet #1: Second Dance
  12. White Man Sleeps Quartet #1: Third Dance
  13. White Man Sleeps Quartet #1: Fourth Dance
  14. White Man Sleeps Quartet #1: Fifth Dance


Product Details

  • Performer: Suzanne Elder, Paul Hillier, David Krakauer, John Adams, Franguiz Ali-Zadeh, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 27, 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 10
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B00000DD9B
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,394 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By A Customer on December 18, 1998
Format: Audio CD
My opinion pales when compared to this CD. Indeed the group's ingeniousness, its knowing and its balls are in full display here, hopefully to put to rest any lingering contention that there is little more to Kronos than form. To any person who accepts the merits of 20th-century music, this CD presents the genius of our culture and teaches that daring and ingenuity do not have to be sacrificed on the road to technical brilliance. My only regret is that the CD does not include Kronos's interpretation of Bartok. But, so what? Górecki's here, as are Part and Benshoof. Listen to this CD -- soar and struggle with it.
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The Kronos Quartet has released many albums. There let us see what the quartet has tried new titles and arrenges in each period. But this is the best set for understand the quartet as summary of thier works. The CDs are distributed by each composers and we can see thier identities easily.Unfortunately this dose not include all but be enough to see what the quartet has been.I hope that every classical music fans(not only contemporaly music fans) listen this CDs.
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Since their youthful start in the NW back in the 70's, Kronos has collaborated with, commissioned, or just played such a breadth of musicians it almost seems that breadth - and especially non western world culture - is their mission. But, while this conservatively and esthetically designed 25-yr-retrospective box (with its increasingly sophisticated photo-portraits) belies the pulsation of social angst and conscience that underlies the bulk of the inclusions, the latter concern, its vitality and relevance - and not some stylish chasing after cultural breadth - is what overtakes the listener/reader, rather soon. I say reader, since the booklet is very helpful, especially to the relative novice, and well balanced in its coverage of composers, historical contexts, performers, individual texts, etc.
There are probably more non contemporaries performed by the Quartet over the years than this selection would indicate. That undercuts their ties with the sense of revolution in music throughout the ages, but it leaves more time for the present: and that is where one expects the group wishes to be, is most contributory and challenged, and is best and most fairly judged. Highly recommended, both for those who know Kronos's work well and wish a handsome tribute on their shelf, and for those who do not but are open and ready to be affected, whether impacted esthetically, reminded socio-morally, or whatever combination of both befits.
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I like more classic period, like Hayden, but Cronos does it very well, technicaly excelent. The ten sets are wonderful recordings and the selection is unique. It deserves the investment, If you buy it, youre going to have more than ten hours of joy.
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By G.D. VINE VOICE on November 30, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is really a set to treasure. The Kronos quartet's credentials, along with the Ardittis, as champions of new music are not in question, but whereas the Ardittis champions the avant-garde end of the spectrum, the Kronos focuses on the more, shall we call it "post-avantgardish" composers. Thus, Kronos has, in addition to playing and commissioning music by leading contemporary composers - in particular those associated with minimalism - made forays into world- and non-western (and even pop) music. Indeed, it is perhaps striking that none of the composers featured on this set are, at least originally, from Western Europe (but there is, to be fair, a disproportionate number of Americans here). Still, the material - mostly reissued from earlier Kronos releases - displays a wide variety of styles, from uncompromising avant-gardism (Feldman and Crumb), through the tintinnabuli style of Pärt and the non-western foundations of e.g. Sculthorpe and Volans, to the crossover borderline contributions from Golijov and Piazzolla. And that they are without exception up to the widely variegated technical demands (in the case of Gubaidulina and Reich also involving multiple quartets and multi-tracking) is beyond doubt. And despite the wide variety of musical styles, they (as everyone acquainted with the Kronos quartet would expect) bring their own individual sound to every piece, perhaps even a little bit too much so (it would be interesting to hear what some of the material here sounded like in other hands). In several of the works they also join forces with other performers such as the clarinetist David Kracauer (Golijov), the pianist Aki Takahashi (Feldman), singers Hargis, Elder, Rogers and Hillier (Pärt) and even didjeridoo players Michael Brosnan and Mark Nolan (Sculthorpe).Read more ›
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