The web blurb says:”This deluxe release follows the success of Quartets 1 & 2 and features the newly released Quartets 3 & 4 from the renowned composer and cellist.”
So officially the two CD set is called Peter Gregson Quartets One – Four (Deutsche Grammophon DGG 2,CDs).
I’ll admit I have been a bit ignorant about the compositions of Peter Gregson until now. Yet as I listen to the nicely wrought performances of these four quartets I feel an easy sympathy with the lyrical unfolding of the composer’s own take on Pomo Postmodernism. It is in the mode of Radical Tonality in its ritual sort of chant-like unfolding, the sensuous play of mostly strings in their performative currency, an ambient set of soundscape strengths not simplistic so much as engaged in superconsonantality as it were.
All four quartets have nicely turned content and a sort of cosmic consolative that one might well appreciate in the turbulent times we live through. After a long sitting and intense listening I do want to jump back to a Bartok Quartet say, or Elliot Carter for some spicy and tangy dissonances, or Haydn for inventive and structural brilliance. But that is a given with my ears after a Pomo soak in a musical sweathouse so to speak.
This is ravishing and well paced music that brings a peaceful ruminency to our musical brown studies, for that it cannot be bettered so much as changed. And when you think of the places that Terry Riley went with his music in time, Gregson takes over the wheel on this ride, as it were, and steers it all further afield to places adjacent but some distance on to a new spiral ascent, perhaps.
If you want to hear substantial yet relaxing sounds, here is a nice place to be. Well done.