Klap Ur Handz Review
“Like other chamber groups in the line descended from San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet, the women of the Lark Quartet set out to mix concert music with contemporary vernacular materials, and the chief attraction of this album is that they choose interesting examples of each and play them with accuracy and vigor. Their program succeeds in being diverse, unexpected, and logical, all at the same time. The presence of one of the “serious” works of P.D.Q. Bach creator Peter Schickele is a surprise, yet the kinetic, Slavic scherzo of his tring Quartet No. 2, “In Memoriam” is an ideal overture. The quartet gets the personal lyricism of current critical favorite Paul Moravec just right. The arrangements of Gershwin songs for quartet by Broadway composer Stanley Silverman stress Gershwin’s mastery of contrapuntal fundamentals, and the Lark players let the music speak for itself rather than adding the mannerisms of musicals. It is the final work, by the widely publicized young Haitian American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, that may attract the most attention to this disc. Roumain has attempted to incorporate hip-hop influences into his music, and in the opening movement of his &Quartet No. 5, “Rosa Parks”), bearing the “Klap Ur Handz” title, he instructs the players to do just that in order to create a semblance of a big hip-hop beat. But that is not the only weapon in Roumain’s arsenal; his second movement, “I made up my mind not to move,” suggests Rosa Parks’ act of defiance not with ponderous dignity but with a sharp ostinato that suggests stubbornness and confrontation. It is the final “Isorhythmiclastionistc” movement that brings sustained notes and a tragic mood. The Lark gives the work a straightforward performance that one suspects the composer, who is pictured in the cover art, must have liked a good deal. As for the general listener, anyone interested in the broad chamber music trend toward engagement with audiences will find much to enjoy in this well-executed recording.” -All Music Guide