Listen: Attacca String Quartet and the String Quartets of John Adams

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On Mar. 26, the Juilliard School-formed Attacca String Quartet presented the string quartets of John Adams at (Le) Poisson Rouge, with the composer in attendance, in celebration of their recent release, "Fellow Traveler: The Complete String Quartet Works Of John Adams." 

The concert opened with Adams's percussive, energetic John's Book of Alleged Dances for string quartet and tape playback of prepared piano, written in 1994 for the Kronos Quartet, which he described as music for dances that yet to be invented, and closed with his String Quartet from 2008. Adams likens the latter's first movement to "Schoenberg on acid" and cites the joys of writing for the C-string of the viola and the upper stratosphere of the cello's register. 

The Attacca Quartet has worked extensively with Adams, having collaborated not only on the new album—which includes the world premiere recording of Fellow Traveler from 2007—but also around the 2009 Alice Tully Hall premiere of his String Quartet.