The Euclid Quartet’s ‘Breve’ Celebrates Music in Minature

This album presents 11 single-movement compositions by 11 different composers

By Miranda Wilson | From the May-June 2024 issue of Strings Magazine

This recent disc by the Euclid Quartet (violinists Jameson Cooper and Aviva Hakanoglu, violist Luis Enrique Vargas, cellist Justin Goldsmith) presents 11 single-movement compositions by 11 different composers. Most albums stick to longer works by just one or two composers; by departing from the norm, the Euclids demonstrate artistry in a wide variety of styles.


Advertisement


Breve, Euclid Quartet (Afinat Records)
Breve, Euclid Quartet (Afinat Records)

Some of the compositions—Puccini’s Crisantemi, Wolf’s Italian Serenade, Schubert’s Quartettsatz—are well-known repertoire staples. Jameson Cooper’s liner notes wryly recall that the notoriously difficult Quartettsatz “beat us up pretty badly on our second-ever concert as students.” Such difficulties are now behind the Euclids, who adeptly steer their way around Schubert’s far-flung modulations and high tessituras. Their performance of Mozart’s Adagio and Fugue, a work more often performed by string chamber orchestras, is sostenuto in bow strokes, with a full-voiced, almost romantic sense of phrasing.

Lesser-known works on the album include the relentless, minimalistic Metro Chabacano by the Mexican composer Javier Álvarez, a jazzy Graceful Ghost Rag by William Bolcom, Joaquín Turina’s La Oración del Torero, and the surprisingly Brahmsian Langsamer Satz by a very young Anton Webern. By alternating warhorses with less familiar compositions in non-chronological order, the Euclids provide a refreshingly diverse program that is well worth a listen.