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Album review: Harlem Quartet, Chicago Sinfonietta, Mei-Ann Chen, Delights & Dances (Cedille)


There's abundant vigour on this engaging collection of contemporary North American concerti grossi by the Harlem Quartet with the Chicago Sinfonietta.

It opens with Michael Abels' “Delights & Dances”, with echoes of Copland, jazz and bluegrass, before Benjamin Lees' “Concerto for String Quartet & Orchestra” takes the mood to a darker, more brooding place, its rhythmic pulses unsettling rather than uplifting. Closing the programme is Randall Fleischer's “West Side Story Concerto”, which transfers the melodies and spirit of the vocal parts to strings, weaving the various prominent themes – “Maria”, “America”, etc – ingeniously into an absorbing concerto structure.

Download: Concerto for String Quartet & Orchestra; Delights & Dances; West Side Story Concerto