Our overseas friends at the BBC Music Magazine ( continue to supply all of us lovers of classical music with subscriptions to the magazine with CD’s that are included in every issue. The most recent one reached my hands just now; it includes a CD of Mahler’s Symphony no. 4, with the BBC Scottish Symphony, Donald Runnicles leading the Scotts and soprano Carolyn Sampson pouring out ethereal singing the fourth movement’s Das himmlische Leben. The results are musically inspiring and the engineering sonically perfect.

The album, Mahler Symphony no. 4 is no. 8 in the 25th volume of the BBC Music Magazine Collection.


ONE FOR FOUR features the New Third Stream Quartet in its first CD, featuring jazz pieces by Kim Pensyl, Will Campbell, Wit Swindler, Brent Gallaher, Tyler Gillmore and Dan Martinez.

Rick van Matre, James Bunte, Peter Sommer and James Romain are the quartet’s members. They focus on commissioned works that straddle the worlds of jazz and chamber music. One looks forward to the opportunity to hear this invaluable ensemble live. For the moment, though, we will have to content ourselves with listening to this terrific CD, available on Amazon or iTunes, and on CD Baby.

Homage to Béla Bartók:


Faster, Higher, Stronger is the Latin motto behind the creation of the Altius Quartet. Formed in 2011 at Southern Methodist University Meadows School of the Arts, the Altius currently holds the position of Quartet-in-Residence at the University of Colorado-Boulder. These days, ensembles of the caliber of this one find a welcoming home in academia, where they can continue to play, have time for touring and enjoy the security of a teaching position.

We missed their Cincinnati appearance for Chamber Music Cincinnati last November, and we were glad and grateful to Navona Records, which sent us this CD. Titled DRESS CODE, the quartet’s members, Joshua Ulrich and Andrew Giordano, first and second violin respectively, violist Andrew Krimm and cellist Zachary Reeves don’t take themselves too seriously, but thankfully play their music with utter seriousness tempered by a mercurial lightness of touch whether essaying Franz Joseph Haydn or Dave Brubeck’s Take It, William Bolcom’s Three Rags, Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven, Ben E. King’s Stand by Me and Take on Me by a-ha.

When it’s time for four different movements from Haydn’s String Quartet in C Major, Op. 74, No. 1, the quartet’s maverick members bring out their classical chops, elegantly playing the Allegro, Andantino, Menuetto and Vivace that intersperse the CD’ pop/jazz/rock tracks. Inspired conceit!

DRESS CODE, available from is a one of a kind musical treat and well worth a listen.

Rafael de Acha


4 thoughts on “THREE ENSEMBLES

    1. However… CONCEIT – a fanciful expression in writing or speech; an elaborate metaphor:
      “the idea of the wind’s singing is a prime romantic conceit”
      synonyms: image · imagery · metaphor · simile · trope · play on words · pun · quip · witticism
      an artistic effect or device:
      “the director’s brilliant conceit was to film this tale in black and white”
      a fanciful notion:
      “he is alarmed by the widespread conceit that he spent most of the 1980s drunk”
      synonyms: idea · notion · fancy


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