on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2017 25 Sep

Danish String Quartet – „Last Leaf“

von: Brian Whistler Filed under: Blog | TB | 2 Comments


The new album, Last Leaf by the Danish String Quartet (ECM New series,) is the kind of music that beckons one to listen in wonder, like a child. At its heart, it’s an album of deeply felt folk music, albeit dressed in superb, sophisticated arrangements and executed with consummate classical precision. Put it on and at once, you’re in familiar territory. Yet, what was that strange chord there, and why did that song start out one way and take me here …?

Besides the odd moment of untraditional dissonance, there are times when the album invokes classical minimalism, inviting one to think of Terry Riley’s string quartets – in more reflective moments I hear snippets of Arvo Part at his most spare. I even hear moments that remind me of Lou Harrison. But then, suddenly the group is off at a bright pace on what almost sounds like a traditional jig from the British isles. I have found Scandinavian folk music to be like that sometimes, not so very far from the British Isles after all, and I like it.

This is a gorgeous album that is almost impossible not to like. It is by turns, dramatic, mournful, playful and ecstatic. But it is always beautiful, sounding like it rose from a natural spring fully formed and perfectly in tune, so light and dynamic it feels as if it is being played by angels.

This entry was posted on Montag, 25. September 2017 and is filed under "Blog". You can follow any responses to this entry with RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


  1. Michael Engelbrecht:

    Really, really gorgeous!!!!!

  2. Michael Engelbrecht:

    This album has a similar emotional impact on me, like, long time ago, Pieces of Africa from the Kronos Quartet.

    Not having a story with classical string quartet music I obviously prefer the margins, the folk sources – no dress codes required :)

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