One of the most grown-up review sites around

2019
51,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here

     
  
 

 

International mailing


  Founder: Len Mullenger             Senior Editor: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

TROUBADISC

colourful imaginative harmony
Renate Eggebrecht violin


Leticia Gómez-Tagle
Chopin, Liszt, Scarlatti


Guillaume LEKEU


Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website



Acte Prealable returns
with New Releases


Superior performance


Shostakovich 6&7 Nelsons
Notable


Verdi Requiem Thielemann


Marianna Henriksson
An outstanding recital


Arnold Bax
Be converted


this terrific disc


John Buckley
one of my major discoveries


François-Xavier Roth
A game-changing Mahler 3

........................................

Bryden Thomson


Symphonies


Vaughan Williams Concertos


RVW Orchestral

 

REVIEW
Plain text for smartphones & printers

We are currently offering in excess of 51,000 reviews


Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and keep us afloat

 

New Releases

Naxos Classical


Nimbus Podcast


Obtain 10% discount



Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

 

Support us financially by purchasing
this through MusicWeb
for £9 postage paid world-wide.

William ZINN (b. 1924)
Works for String Quartet
Elie Wiesel (A Portrait) (2012) [18:43]
String Quartet No. 1 (1966) [24:01]
Kol Nidrei Memorial (1986) [14:06]
Wihan Quartet (Leoš Čepický (violin); Jan Schulmeister (violin); Jiří Žigmund (viola); Aleš Kaspřík (cello))
rec. no details provided
NIMBUS NI6256 [56:50]

American composer William Zinn has written for a richly diverse array of forces, his work list is now extensive, and as a violinist he has an executant-composer’s acuteness as to the appropriateness of things. The booklet cover shows him at work, as a fiddler, his somewhat ruffly shirt cuffs giving him the appearance of a benign exponent of the art of the Hungarian salon.
 
Whatever his personal inclinations as to solo repertoire as a performer – Dinicu or Ysaÿe? – as a composer his metier, if this disc is a guide, is a mellow inheritance of the standard tributaries of musical development. Elie Wiesel (A Portrait) is an impression for string quartet of Wiesel’s ‘character and accomplishments’. Wiesel was the Nobel Peace Prize winner in 1986. The portrait lasts just shy of 19 minutes and is cast in one movement though it contains sufficient columnar and repeating elements to give it fine structural bases. There is a cantorial quality here, and the prayerful soliloquies hint at an emollient compound of Achron and Bloch. The sonorous quartet writing is very much in the Classical tradition however, and the recording quality projects it very forwardly. The single line monologues and the corporate biography of the whole quartet seem to attest to the many rich strands of Wiesel’s life, a life both stark and valiant.
 
The String Quartet No.1 was written in 1966 and is cast in four movements. It was the death of the cellist in Zinn’s own quartet, Benjamin De Miranda, which inspired the writing. This In Memoriam is sensitively wrought but not overwrought expressively. There are droll elements in the Scherzo that reflect the wit of the late cellist – the rhythm is especially infectious – whilst the third movement, called Requiem, is a flowing, fluid harmonically plangent affair that offers both delicacy and density. The sterner figures that exist act rather as an Orpheus and the Furies motif, reminding me of the slow movement of Beethoven’s Fourth Piano Concerto There’s a similar sense of conciliation in the figures and a struggle to conquer the darker shades. The finale offers the consolation and consummation of a fugato which embraces ruminative passages, both mournful and intense, and ends on a reflective though not wholly melancholy note. Elements in this quartet are unashamedly classical, almost Schubertian.
 
Finally there is Kol Nidrei Memorial in which the themes are repeated variously five times. The novelty resides in the different combinations in which it recurs. The writing is warm, emotive, with variations of colour and texture, ending the work with optimism.

Throughout, the Wihan Quartet proves masterly ambassadors for the music and the notes are by the composer himself.
 
Jonathan Woolf 

Previous review: Rob Barnett