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  • Kronos Quartet and its artistic director/founding violinist David Harrington have long been known as interpreters of music from around the world, expanding the string quartet repertoire with works from across genres. Released in honor of the group's 40th anniversary year, Kronos Explorer Series comprises five classic albums from five different parts of the world—Pieces of Africa, Night Prayers, Caravan, Nuevo, and Floodplain—with new liner notes that include an in-depth interview of Harrington by renowned author Jonathan Cott. The Independent calls the set "extraordinary."

  • Kronos plays works created between 1966 and 1989 by the former Soviet Union’s leading composer, Alfred Schnittke. The group, says the New York Times, “has delivered a performance in which every phrase is filled with profound and resonant meaning.”

  • Kronos juxtaposes work created as far back as the ninth century with modern, minimalist pieces. By its conclusion, notes the New York Times, “the distinctions between old and new are blurred, and the effect is comforting rather than disconcerting.”

  • Chinese composer Tan Dun melds Eastern and Western influences and explores spiritual themes in this five-movement piece for string quartet and pipa, featuring pipa virtuoso Wu Man. The Los Angeles Times calls it a “broad-minded, culture-bending opus.”

  • Composer Osvaldo Golijov calls his piece, featuring clarinetist David Krakauer alongside Kronos, "a kind of epic, a history of Judaism." The Boston Globe praised it as spiritual, earthly—and earthy: “It is music of prayer, celebration, mysticism, and practicality.”

  • These pieces incorporate the recorded/sampled voices of politically charged figures Allen Ginsberg, J. Edgar Hoover, and I.F. Stone. The Chicago Sun-Times says Howl, U.S.A. is “adventurous and provocative and dances on the edge of a whole new form.”

  • This two-disc set offers highlights from Kronos Quartet’s first decade on Nonesuch. The “supercharged group of musical pioneers” (Los Angeles Times) displays astonishing stylistic breadth, interpreting work by composers ranging from Terry Riley to Jimi Hendrix, Raymond Scott to Steve Reich.

  • Among these four performances is Quartet No. 5, the first piece Glass wrote especially for Kronos. “It contains some of Mr. Glass's best music since Koyaanisqatsi,” says the New York Times. “His ear for sumptuous string sonorities is undeniable.”

  • Composers from Eastern Europe / Central Asia offer work reflecting upon Jewish, Islamic, and Christian spiritual traditions. Guests include Dawn Upshaw, Djivan Gasparian, and the Throat Singers of Tuva. The seven tracks, says the Washington Post, “make a cohesive, contemplative whole.”

  • Political activist / sound experimentalist / composer Bob Ostertag addresses the AIDS crisis in his collage piece, with documentary-style text and taped samples from a San Francisco riot over gay rights. The New York Times called it “a devastating roar of gay anger.”

  • Works from Austrian composers Alban Berg and Anton Webern are prefaced by “a rare Liszt miniature” that, says the Chicago Tribune, reveals the Quartet's goal: to “convey the influence of Wagner down to the pupils of Arnold Schoenberg.”

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