Music For String Quartet and Piano Solo
Fred Broer composer
New England String Quartet | Julia Okrusko violin; Nelli Jabotinsky violin;
Lilit Muradyan viola; Ming-Hui Lin cello
Karolina Rojahn piano
Composer, author, and educator Fred Broer presents his String Quartet No. 8, as well as four colorful piano works, on his Navona release FRED BROER: MUSIC FOR STRING QUARTET AND PIANO SOLO.
Broer’s adventurous String Quartet No. 8 is performed masterfully by the New England String Quartet and is dedicated to the memory of his good friend Hilda Ayer. The first movement “Impetuous” is characterized by a duality of character, with a capricious theme – first heard in the solo violin – opposing an orderly drumbeat ostinato, emerging throughout the movement in a series of dialogues and clashes. The second movement “Fleeting” opens with ethereal tremolos and trills and ambiguous harmonies. The uncertainty of the opening gradually shifts to a character of clarity and calmness expressed through harmonic simplicity. In the final movement “Very animated,” an energetic, stuttering theme is contrasted with a moody lyrical theme. Violent chords that recall the rhythm of the first movement’s drumbeat ostinato, a lyrical ascending chromatic passage, and a final energetic stutter finish the work.
Broer’s selection of Four Piano Pieces, as performed by Karolina Rojahn, showcases his skill in creating compelling musical moods and atmospheres. Piano Piece No. 2 undergoes abrupt and extreme changes of mood, from casual meandering to dramatic furor to dreamy simplicity. Piano Piece No. 6 is a playful scherzo, casting repetitive staccato motives against spritely interjections in the extreme registers of the piano, with a mischievous whirring theme at the piece’s beginning and end. In Piano Piece No. 5, a sparkling, driven theme is contrasted with a dense trudging theme in the piano’s lower register. A dark and mysterious theme takes center stage in Piano Piece No. 8, where it is contrasted with an agitated theme. At the piece’s end, a wispy ascending line washes away the dark theme and disappears into the distance.