, September 2012
...here we have a disc of his string-quartet music from the distinguished Latinoamericano Quartet. Mignone was a secondary composer, exhibiting all the good points of that species, such as highly refined craftsmanship, a working knowledge of instruments, and a solid sense of form. His music for string quartet is by no means groundbreaking, either technically (Bartók) or expressively (Shostakovich—or, nearer to home, Revueltas), yet while it may lack individuality, the composer’s incorporation of Latin American rhythms and bluesy harmonies into his work does give it a distinctively nationalistic voice. A breeziness to his music invokes an idealized Brazilian countryside...
The masterpiece is the Second Quartet, which opens the disc. Its first movement contains flowing melodic writing, with a cheeky use of portamento, while the concluding third movement has a bracing rhythmic zest. The slow movement, however, is the real gem; beginning with a soulful Villa-Lobos type theme from the cello, it progresses to an agitated middle section (featuring slithery chromatic harmony) to close on a beguiling jazz-flavored cadence.
The Latinoamericano plays this program to perfection. We owe the group so much for its tireless investigation of Latin repertoire, of which this disc is yet another shining example. I would recommend it for those times when Bartók feels too aggressive or Shostakovich too melancholy. In fact, in terms of melodic flow and expressivity, the quartet composer who comes to mind as a yardstick is Borodin.
Sound quality is excellent. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review