Black Angels [LP]

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Kronos Quartet’s award-winning 1990 album Black Angels gets a double vinyl release in celebration of the group’s 50th anniversary. The two-LP set includes George Crumb’s title piece, which inspired David Harrington to found the quartet, and works by Charles Ives, István Márta, Thomas Tallis, and Dmitri Shostakovich; the vinyl’s fourth side is an etching of an illustration Matt Mahurin—whose work is featured on the original album cover—created especially for this purpose. Crumb’s title piece, called “an unusually elevated and searing Vietnam War protest” by the New York Times, sets a dark, powerful tone for the collection, which addresses the political/physical/spiritual consequences of war. The Evening Standard includes the album among its “100 Definitive Classical Albums of the 20th Century.”

Description

Nonesuch releases Kronos Quartet’s award-winning 1990 album Black Angels on vinyl on February 16, 2024, to coincide with Kronos Quartet: Five Decades, a year-long celebration of the quartet’s 50th anniversary; it is available to pre-order here. First released in 1990, the album features David Harrington (violin), John Sherba, (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Joan Jeanrenaud (cello) performing George Crumb’s title piece, which inspired Harrington to found the quartet in 1973, and works by Charles Ives, István Márta, Thomas Tallis, and Dmitri Shostakovich. Crumb’s title piece, called “an unusually elevated and searing Vietnam War protest” by the New York Times, sets a dark, powerful tone for this collection, which addresses the political/physical/spiritual consequences of war. The fourth side of the vinyl edition is an etching of an illustration created especially for this purpose by Matt Mahurin, whose work is featured on the original album cover. “Stylishly packaged, intelligently programmed, superbly recorded and brilliantly performed,” proclaimed Gramophone. “In short, very much the sort of disc we’ve come to expect from the talented and imaginative Kronos Quartet.” The Evening Standard included it among its “100 Definitive Classical Albums of the 20th Century.”

Black Angels was conceived as a kind of parable on our troubled contemporary world,” George Crumb wrote in 1986, as cited in the album notes. “The work portrays a voyage of the soul … The numerological symbolism of Black Angels, while perhaps not immediately perceptible to the ear, is nonetheless quite faithfully reflected in the musical structure. These ‘magical’ relationships are variously expressed; e.g. in terms of length, groupings of single tones, durations, patterns of repetition, etc.”

As Kronos’s anniversary season continues with further concerts around the world, Nonesuch will reissue the acclaimed 1995 album Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass on vinyl for the first time next month, November 3. The two-LP set, produced by the composer, Judith Sherman, and Kurt Munkacsi, features violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt, and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud performing quartets No. 2 (Company) (1983), No. 3 (Mishima) (1985), No. 4 (Buczak) (1990), and No. 5 (1991), the first piece Glass wrote for Kronos. “It contains some of Glass's best music since Koyaanisqatsi,” said the New York Times. “His ear for sumptuous string sonorities is undeniable.” The Washington Post called it “an ideal combination of composer and performers.”

For 50 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet—David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Paul Wiancko (cello)—has challenged and reimagined what a string quartet can be. Founded at a time when the form was largely centered on long-established, Western European traditions, Kronos has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the string quartet into a living art form that responds to the people and issues of our time. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our era, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 70 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, and collaborating with many of the world’s most accomplished composers and performers. Through its nonprofit organization, Kronos Performing Arts Association, Kronos has commissioned more than 1,000 works and arrangements for string quartet—including the Kronos Fifty for the Future library of free, educational repertoire. Kronos has received more than 40 awards, including three Grammy Awards and the Polar Music, Avery Fisher, and Edison Klassiek Oeuvre Prizes.

Kronos is prolific and wide-ranging on recordings. The ensemble’s expansive discography on Nonesuch includes three Grammy-winning albums: Terry Riley’s Sun Rings (2019), Landfall with Laurie Anderson (2018), and Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw (2003); the 40th-anniversary boxed set Kronos Explorer Series; Nuevo (2002), a Grammy- and Latin Grammy–nominated celebration of Mexican culture; Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born composers that simultaneously topped Billboard’s Classical and World Music charts; and Folk Songs (2017), Nonesuch’s 50th album with Kronos, which featured Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, Rhiannon Giddens, and Natalie Merchant singing traditional folk songs.

ProductionCredits

PRODUCTION CREDITS
Produced by Judith Sherman and Kronos Quartet
Recording Engineers: Judith Sherman, Juhani Liimatainen (1-4, 7-11), Tony Eckert (1-4, 7-11), Alex Haas (5), Dan Reid (6)
Mix Engineers: Judith Sherman, Bob Edwards (1-4), Alex Haas (5)

Art direction and design: Manhattan Design
Photography: Matt Mahurin

Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

 

Album Status
Artist Name
Kronos Quartet
MusicianDetails

MUSICIANS
Kronos Quartet:
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello

reissues?
reissues
Cover Art
UPC/Price
Label
2LP+MP3
Price
30.00
UPC
075597900767

News & Reviews

  • Kronos Quartet’s award-winning 1990 album Black Angels is now available on vinyl to coincide with Kronos Quartet: Five Decades, a year-long celebration of the quartet’s 50th anniversary, and Nonesuch Records' 60th anniversary. First released in 1990, the album features George Crumb’s title piece, which inspired David Harrington to found the quartet in 1973, and works by Charles Ives, István Márta, Thomas Tallis, and Dmitri Shostakovich. The fourth side of the vinyl is an etching of an illustration created especially for this purpose by Matt Mahurin, whose work is featured on the original album cover. The Evening Standard included Black Angels among its “100 Definitive Classical Albums of the 20th Century.”

  • As part of Kronos: Five Decades, the year-long celebration of Kronos Quartet’s 50th anniversary, the group is publishing five decade-spanning playlists curated by its founder and violinist David Harrington. The latest, featuring music Kronos performed in its fourth decade, 2003–2012, is out now. It includes works the quartet recorded on Nonesuch by Sigur Rós, Henryk Górecki, Clint Mansell, R.D. Burman, Ramallah Underground, Rokia Traoré, Pēteris Vasks, Terry Riley, Vladimir Martynov, Steve Reich, and more. You can hear it here.

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  • About This Album

    Nonesuch releases Kronos Quartet’s award-winning 1990 album Black Angels on vinyl on February 16, 2024, to coincide with Kronos Quartet: Five Decades, a year-long celebration of the quartet’s 50th anniversary; it is available to pre-order here. First released in 1990, the album features David Harrington (violin), John Sherba, (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Joan Jeanrenaud (cello) performing George Crumb’s title piece, which inspired Harrington to found the quartet in 1973, and works by Charles Ives, István Márta, Thomas Tallis, and Dmitri Shostakovich. Crumb’s title piece, called “an unusually elevated and searing Vietnam War protest” by the New York Times, sets a dark, powerful tone for this collection, which addresses the political/physical/spiritual consequences of war. The fourth side of the vinyl edition is an etching of an illustration created especially for this purpose by Matt Mahurin, whose work is featured on the original album cover. “Stylishly packaged, intelligently programmed, superbly recorded and brilliantly performed,” proclaimed Gramophone. “In short, very much the sort of disc we’ve come to expect from the talented and imaginative Kronos Quartet.” The Evening Standard included it among its “100 Definitive Classical Albums of the 20th Century.”

    Black Angels was conceived as a kind of parable on our troubled contemporary world,” George Crumb wrote in 1986, as cited in the album notes. “The work portrays a voyage of the soul … The numerological symbolism of Black Angels, while perhaps not immediately perceptible to the ear, is nonetheless quite faithfully reflected in the musical structure. These ‘magical’ relationships are variously expressed; e.g. in terms of length, groupings of single tones, durations, patterns of repetition, etc.”

    As Kronos’s anniversary season continues with further concerts around the world, Nonesuch will reissue the acclaimed 1995 album Kronos Quartet Performs Philip Glass on vinyl for the first time next month, November 3. The two-LP set, produced by the composer, Judith Sherman, and Kurt Munkacsi, features violinists David Harrington and John Sherba, violist Hank Dutt, and cellist Joan Jeanrenaud performing quartets No. 2 (Company) (1983), No. 3 (Mishima) (1985), No. 4 (Buczak) (1990), and No. 5 (1991), the first piece Glass wrote for Kronos. “It contains some of Glass's best music since Koyaanisqatsi,” said the New York Times. “His ear for sumptuous string sonorities is undeniable.” The Washington Post called it “an ideal combination of composer and performers.”

    For 50 years, San Francisco’s Kronos Quartet—David Harrington (violin), John Sherba (violin), Hank Dutt (viola), and Paul Wiancko (cello)—has challenged and reimagined what a string quartet can be. Founded at a time when the form was largely centered on long-established, Western European traditions, Kronos has been at the forefront of revolutionizing the string quartet into a living art form that responds to the people and issues of our time. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our era, performing thousands of concerts worldwide, releasing more than 70 recordings of extraordinary breadth and creativity, and collaborating with many of the world’s most accomplished composers and performers. Through its nonprofit organization, Kronos Performing Arts Association, Kronos has commissioned more than 1,000 works and arrangements for string quartet—including the Kronos Fifty for the Future library of free, educational repertoire. Kronos has received more than 40 awards, including three Grammy Awards and the Polar Music, Avery Fisher, and Edison Klassiek Oeuvre Prizes.

    Kronos is prolific and wide-ranging on recordings. The ensemble’s expansive discography on Nonesuch includes three Grammy-winning albums: Terry Riley’s Sun Rings (2019), Landfall with Laurie Anderson (2018), and Alban Berg’s Lyric Suite featuring soprano Dawn Upshaw (2003); the 40th-anniversary boxed set Kronos Explorer Series; Nuevo (2002), a Grammy- and Latin Grammy–nominated celebration of Mexican culture; Pieces of Africa (1992), a showcase of African-born composers that simultaneously topped Billboard’s Classical and World Music charts; and Folk Songs (2017), Nonesuch’s 50th album with Kronos, which featured Sam Amidon, Olivia Chaney, Rhiannon Giddens, and Natalie Merchant singing traditional folk songs.

    Credits

    MUSICIANS
    Kronos Quartet:
    David Harrington, violin
    John Sherba, violin
    Hank Dutt, viola
    Joan Jeanrenaud, cello

    PRODUCTION CREDITS
    Produced by Judith Sherman and Kronos Quartet
    Recording Engineers: Judith Sherman, Juhani Liimatainen (1-4, 7-11), Tony Eckert (1-4, 7-11), Alex Haas (5), Dan Reid (6)
    Mix Engineers: Judith Sherman, Bob Edwards (1-4), Alex Haas (5)

    Art direction and design: Manhattan Design
    Photography: Matt Mahurin

    Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

     

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