Jasper String Quartet - Unbound
Philadelphia's Jasper String Quartet released its latest album, Unbound, March 17, 2017 on New Amsterdam Records in partnership with Sono Luminus. This is the “sonically delightful and expressively compelling” (The Strad) and "powerful" (The New York Times) ensemble’s fourth album, featuring never-before-recorded works by Donnacha Dennehy, Annie Gosfield, Judd Greenstein, Ted Hearne, David Lang, Missy Mazzoli, and Caroline Shaw, as well as its first album released beyond the Sono Luminus imprint. The release of Unbound also marks the first co-release between New Amsterdam Records and Sono Luminus.
The Jasper String Quartet has spent a decade performing premier works old and new at top concert halls around the world, but for the creation of Unbound, they looked close to home for inspiration. With an equal mix of men and women, the members of the Quartet sought to create an album that represents themselves and their community. Using Judd Greenstein’s “Four on the Floor” as a centerpiece — a virtuosic, dynamic piece that requires togetherness and spirit to perform — the Quartet built a collection of moving, post-genre, and technically impressive works by male and female composers close to their generation. An album for and reflective of right now, Unbound is unbound by convention, yet retains the performance quality expected of a traditional classically trained string quartet.
Releasing Unbound on both New Amsterdam Records and Sono Luminus is an extension of the album’s ideals. New Amsterdam is celebrated for its commitment to releasing expertly performed post-genre music, and Sono Luminus is praised for its meticulous recording process that pulls the best performances out of its groups. Unbound captures the spirit of both labels, and the spirit of the Jasper String Quartet.
Words about Unbound from the Jasper String Quartet:
“Seeking out new pieces to contribute to this conversation is as important, if not more so, as rediscovering the sublime human experience of a Beethoven quartet. The seven pieces on this album represent a collection of treasures we’ve discovered from this century. One of these pieces, Annie Gosfield’s “The Blue Horse Walks on the Horizon” was written expressly for our quartet. The rest we unearthed as we sifted through the vibrant and varied landscape of music being created today.
We sought to find a set of pieces that were both enchanting on their own and together represent a cohesive aesthetic. From the immense technical challenges of Judd Greenstein’s “Four on the Floor”, the meditative contemplation of David Lang’s “almost all the time”, to the raw emotion and vivid imagery of Missy Mazzoli’s “Death Valley Junction”, these pieces represent an incredible diversity of sound and style. Yet they all reside comfortably in this wonderful tradition of string quartets, of which we are lucky enough to be a part.”
The Quartet (J Freivogel, first violin; Sae Chonabayashi, second violin; Sam Quintal, viola; and Rachel Henderson Freivogel, cello) is the winner of the prestigious CMA Cleveland Quartet Award, and is currently the Professional Quartet in Residence at Temple University’s Center for Gifted Young Musicians. The Quartet has released three highly acclaimed albums in addition to this one — Beethoven Op. 131, The Kernis Project: Schubert, and The Kernis Project: Beethoven — all released through Sono Luminus.
The group recently launched the inaugural season of Jasper Chamber Concerts, a series in Philadelphia devoted to world class performances of masterworks from around the world and Philadelphia.
Unbound was recorded at Sono Luminus Studios by Dan Merceruio, producer, editing engineer; Daniel Shores, recording, mixing & mastering engineer, editing engineer; David Angell, recording technician; and Collin J. Rae, executive producer.
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