SF Chronicle: CD Review – Cypress String Quartet

San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, November 3, 2011
by Joshua Kosman

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Cypress Performing Arts Assoc. POLITE APPLAUSE

Thematic programming is a fine thing, but sometimes it's also OK to simply toss coherence out the nearest window. The latest self-produced CD from the Bay Area's stalwart Cypress String Quartet, billed as "The American Album," begins with a fine matched pair of works on American Indian themes. One, naturally, is Dvorák's "American" Quartet, which draws on a range of melodic material the composer assembled during his stay in this country; the other is the lesser-known but evocative "Two Sketches Based on Indian Themes" by Charles Tomlinson Griffes.

Both of them get stylish, forceful performances from the ensemble - the Dvorák vivid and forthright in the outer movements and lovingly long breathed in the glorious slow movement, the Griffes full of eerie sonorities and rhythmic vitality. And to close things out, there is Samuel Barber's String Quartet, included because - well, because he's American. But who cares about consistency when the playing is this tender and finely blended?

DVORÁK, GRIFFES, BARBER STRING QUARTETS CYPRESS STRING QUARTET This article appeared on page Q - 31 of the San Francisco Chronicle Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/03/PKAD1LNU8R.DTL#ixzz1ci0od3wt