Schuller, Gunther – “Symphony (1965)/Quartet For Double Basses” – [Vox Turnabout]

Cousin Mary   11/16/2010   12-inch, A Library

In his copious and almost impenetrable liner notes, Schuller (American, born 1925) seems to be saying that his 12-tone compositions have some elements of the classical form and that makes them more digestible.

In any case, the Symphony (1965) is a big work with lots of cool percussion, at times with a cinematic drama. Constantly moving and engaging, it could give 12-tone a good name.

The Quartet for Double Basses (written in 1947) is rather dark and brooding – not a surprise with 4 low-register stringed instruments. I enjoyed the unique instrumentation and the hearty forward momentum kept my interest.


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