Born in 1982, the Italian composer, mathematician and guitarist Giovanni Albini began writing for string quartet in 2003. By then he had graduated from the conservatoire in Milan before pursuing further studies at the Accademia della Santa Cecilia in Rome and then in Tallinn.
Albini’s language is eclectic, reflecting his broad education and wide range of musical interests in writing for new-music ensembles, video games and multimedia artworks. Arpeggiated sequences owe as much to Bach and the Baroque as they do to Minimalism, but they are integrated within an idiom that embraces modernism and the most fundamental musical materials such as a scale, which forms the basis for the Sixth Quartet. This and the most recent of his quartets, No.9, are constructed as strict palindromes – working the same backwards as forwards, like certain late canons of Bach and the Ninth Symphony of Robert Simpson. Subtitled ‘Il principe’, No.8 is dedicated to the memory of Carlo Gesualdo and based on the opening bars of his madrigal Moro, lasso, al mio duolo.
The String Quartets Nos 5-7 feature on a previous Brilliant Classics album, ‘Musica ciclica’ (BC9294), which collects a diverse range of Albini’s instrumental music. ‘If some brave director is looking for music for his film, get in touch with Giovanni Albini. Take for example Estatica per chitarra: the technical precision and concentration required for the performance of the song are almost sublimated by the enchanting result. Another example: the balanced dialogue between different instruments such as violin, guitar duo and string orchestra in the Double Concerto, Corali, leads to moments of intense emotion. But so does all the music on this album; music that benefits from the tightly focused skill of the performers and the high quality of the recording.’ (Il corriere musicale)
Now based in Milan, the Quartetto Indaco was formed at Scuola di Musica di Fiesole in 2007 and specialises in new music. Il Giornale di Vicenza acclaimed the quartet as ‘compact, full of polish and exuberance, a real revelation. The Quartetto Indaco shows lucid precision, concentration and great ability.’
Giovanni Albini is a fascinating figure in contemporary art, as he developed a unique and personal composition technique in which the course of music is designed by mathematical patterns (Albini is a mathematician as well as a composer).
This new recording presents 9 String Quartets, written over a period of 15 years, acting as a seismograph of his compositional activities. The quartets are partly single-movement and partly multi-movement, with an average length of 6 minutes. The quartets provide fascinating listening of music by a brilliant mind, an original, witty and warm personality.
Excellent performances by the Italian Quartetto Indaco. The booklet contains a lengthy essay on the composer and his music by Giovanni Cestino.