The Ariel Quartet, distinguished by its virtuosic playing and impassioned interpretations, makes its debut recording pairing two giants of the string-quartet world, Bela Bartok and Johannes Brahms. Both composers stand as significant pillars of the youthful Quartet’s two-decade-long journey. The Ariel Quartet earned its glowing international reputation early on, having formed in Israel when its members were students in middle school. The Ariel now serves as the Faculty Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati’s College-Conservatory of Music Debut. This release is the first in a projected series pairing the quartets of Bartok and Brahms. “…a blazing, larger-than-life performance…” (The Washington Post) “…the sum of the quartet is indeed greater than its parts…”(The Strad)
Never one to relegate particular instruments to merely supporting roles, Hindemith composed his String Trio No. 1 (1924) with an eye (and ear) toward complete equality among the parts. The Trio is written in an almost constantly contrapuntal texture that makes much use of canon and fugue techniques; virtually the only instances where a homophonic texture is evident are those that mark important structural divisions of the movements. Though much of the music has an atonal feel, Hindemith provides a sense of direction by establishing tonal centers as points of momentary resolution. Typical of Hindemith's music of the early 1920s, the Trio is marked by a bracing, energetic spirit. The String Trio No. 2 strongly contrasts with its predecessor, the String Trio No. 1 (1924), which is marked by a strong feeling of atonality. When Hindemith wrote the present work nearly a decade later, his style had evolved somewhat. The Trio No. 2 is built on standard Classical forms but incorporates Hindemith's personal sense of tonality, in which any note or chord may be related to a given tonal center; the music has a refreshing, non-Romantic sound.