Ethel on Earth

New recordings by Saariaho, Marcelo Zarvos, Don Byron and more

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Ethel (Leslie Lyons)

This week on the New Canon, we take Manhattan (and the other four boroughs) with Ethel's "Heavy," the string quartet's latest showcase of New York composers. It streams as part of our latest Q2 Music webcast premiere, in which we stream a new album in its entirety.

Ethel is one of those ensembles happy to defy categorization or genre, but on its newest album, it goes back to its roots as a New York ensemble, playing works by New York composers. Of course, in a city as diverse as Gotham, that still allows for a multifaceted listening experience, starting with Don Byron's Quartet for Strings No. 2, "Four Thoughts on Marvin Gaye" and wrapping up with Brazilian-born Marcelo Zarvos's Rounds.

We lead into that with a trip through the Finnish soundscape, equally varied and longstanding as that of New York's, hearing once again from Einojuani Rautavaara's newest album on Ondine (featuring percussionist Colin Currie) and also hearing from that same label's compendium of Saariaho's music for orchestra. No matter how you slice it, it's going to be epic.

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Olivia Giovetti
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