LOUIS PELOSI – String Quartet No. 2

American Contemporary composer Louis Pelosi [born 1947] has written three string quartets. His Second Quartet, dedicated to his late wife is titled Rosemary Koczyin Memoriam. It is in one eighteen-minute movement.

The work opens with the cello leading the way, and abundant harmonies being introduced. Once the violins have appeared, the mood settles into a gentle, drifting passage. This leads into a hint of anxiety — I detect a portion of a motif from Shostakovich there — before moving into a brief section in tempo. It soon dissipates and meanders along with several pauses interrupting the mood. The tempo returns and the violins express charming melodies. The cello is conspicuous here, but not for long as a solo violin makes for a brief phase. It is soon joined by the ensemble and leads to a slightly stilted feeling.

Now some powerful rhythmic chordal thrusts ensue, but they are only transient. The gentle melodies return and the cello is again prominent. There goes that Shostakovich motif again. A solo violin takes over and eventually the ensemble enter at various times. The violin is still the driving force although some slightly dissonant interjections add to the mood. The chordal thrusts make a reappearance, before things become very quiet. Some dissonant touches are quite pervasive.

The prominent violin pushes ahead with a second violin in evidence, together with pizzicato viola. Another familiar phrase occurs, it may be from a Bach Brandenburg Concerto. The intensity increases; the phrasing is again Bach-like. A pause introduces a solo cello statement, which is joined by the violins and later, a strong rhythmic passage occurs.

This gives way to a gentle mood with cello pizzicato complementing the violin duet. The Bach-like phrasing returns for a time; it definitely has a Baroque feeling. Now some strong chords raise the intensity, and cello interjections seem to quieten the violins as they become very sparse. The cello interjections return and a repeated violin phrase leads to the conclusion.

The review CD is titled Music by Louis Pelosi: A Triptych Memorial to My Rosemarie, Part I, on KASP Records, performed by an unspecified string quartet. It also contains String Quartet No. 1 and is available on Amazon US and UK.

I could only find a listenable version on Spotify, together with a CD featuring the Third Quartet.

Listenability: Aesthetically pleasing, without being overly sentimental.


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