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Protean Quartet – CD Review, 24th of May 2023

Wednesday, 11 October 2023 , ora 10.24

Joseph Haydn -String Quartet Op. 33 No. 6, in D Major; Juan Pedro Almeida - Quartet Op. 7 No. 1, in G Minor, work recorded for the first time on disc.

The Protean Quartet, which specialises in the string quartet repertoire of the 18th century, was founded in Basel in 2018. The string ensemble takes its name from Proteus, the Greek god of the sea, whose name, etymologically speaking, can be traced back to the noun proteo, which designates someone who has the ability to frequently change their form, affect, or opinion. Thus, The Protean Quartet distinguishes itself by its critical spirit, which can be noticed inthe constant process of revision and in the dialogue held among its members, all in an attempt to find new ideas and creative impulses. The Quartet consists of violinists Javier Aguilar and Edi Kotler, violist Ricardo Gil and cellist Clara Rada, musicians who play period instruments. The four artists studied at the Hanns Eisler School of Music Berlin and at Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Theyperformed chamber concerts at festivals in the Netherlands, France and Spain and were awarded first prize at the Biagio-Marini International Competition in Germany and at theYork International Early Music Competition, UK. On the 13th of January 2023, The Quartet released its debut album, which was also featured in the Discs of the Year 2023 project by Radio România Muzical. This album includes quartets by Joseph Haydn, Ludwig van Beethoven and Juan Pedro Almeida.

Obviously, the least known work on this disc is that of Juan Pedro Almeida, the Portuguese composer who wrote all of his works in Spain. He was born in Lisbon in 1744 and died in Madrid in 1817. Almeida was devoted to serving the Church, and therefore worked for some of the churches in these two cities, where he composed over 200 works of sacred music, as well as some chamber music pieces. The Quartet Op. 7 No. 1, in G Minor, recorded for the first time on disc and performed by The Protean Quartet, was composed by Juan Pedro Almeida in the early 19th century; it consists of four parts: Largo, Romance, Minuetto, and Rondo, characterised by dramatic contrasts, melancholic passages interrupted by passionate moments, reminiscent of the literary styles in vogue at that time. The Protean Quartet captures this dynamic unfolding and provides a colourful performance for the audience.

The album was recorded in August 2021 at the Mozart Hall of the Zaragoza Auditorium, and was released in January 2023.

Larisa Clempuș
Translated by Valentina Mihai,
University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II
Corrected by Silvia Petrescu