Album review: Cypress String Quartet, The American Album (Avie)


This pioneering American quartet here offers razor-sharp interpretations of a fascinating programme of American-themed pieces, starting with Dvorak's String Quartet No 12 in F, the American. It's evocative of a bright new dawn, whereas Charles Tomlinson Griffes's Two Sketches Based on Indian Themes has a more sombre, ethereal tone. Commissioned by the Cypress String Quartet as a response to string quartets by Beethoven and Mendelssohn, the solemn, haunting melody of Kevin Puts's Lento Assai is unsullied by extreme activity, and thus provides a fine bridge to Barber's String Quartet in B minor, with its emblematic Adagio presented in a more refined, less lushly sentimental manner than usual.

Download: String Quartet No 12 in F; String Quartet in B minor; Two Sketches Based on Indian Themes; Lento Assai