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16 Takacs Assad LabroTakács Assad Labro
Takács Quartet; Julien Labro; Clarice Assad
Yarlung Records YAR59691 (



Meditation No. 1

Constellation No. 1


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The Takács Quartet was formed almost 50 years ago in 1975 in Hungary. Now based in the United States, original member András Fejér (cello) is joined by Edward Dusinberre and Harumi Rhodes (violins) and Richard O’Neill (viola). World-renowned for their performances of traditional mainstream string quartet repertoire and some contemporary works, here they expand outside the classical realm with guests Julien Labro (bandoneon/composition) and Clarice Assad (piano/vocals/composition).

The seven compositions jump around stylistically yet still connect. Circles by Bryce Dessner begins with Labro’s calming bandoneon changing to fast florid virtuosic lines supported by contrasting strings with detached ascending/descending lines and rhythmic shots. Labro composed Meditation No.1 during the pandemic. The lyrical bandoneon plays held notes above string lines, tight conversations with strings, bellows shakes and tango stylings referencing Labro’s respect for Piazzolla and Saluzzi. 

Multi-talented Clarice Assad is represented by three works here. She composed and performs Luminous from Pendulum Suite for solo piano where the fast percussive piano start leads to modulating lines drawn from Brazilian jazz supporting her rhythmic scat-like vocalizations. Constellation is a three-movement work for piano and violin to be played in any order. The final track, Assad’s Clash, is inspired by society’s stressful social tensions. Intriguing strings at times sound like solos yet all fit together. A great mix of snippets of styles and tempi, I like the accents and string plucks making a “clash” effect, and the closing dark, grim cello and bandoneon interchanges. Intriguing works by Milton Nascimento and Kaija Saariaho are also included, making for a brilliant, wide-ranging and colourful disc.

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