CD review: Jürg Frey’s Third String Quartet

First published in the Guardian on 17 December, 2015

Swiss composer Jürg Frey said recently that all good music should be felt in some part of the body, and that his music is intended to be felt just inside of the ear drum. It’s a neat image from the master of calm instrumental textures — a Wandelweiser group composer who explores silence as much as sound and writes egoless music that feels as though it’s always just been there. Montreal’s Bozzini Quartet gave a virtuosically still performance of his Third String Quartet at this year’s Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and the group’s recording of the half-hour piece is beautiful for the up-close, quiet, grainy realness of the string timbres, every bow hair and every arm quiver audible. It’s an audaciously fragile performance. Also on the disc is an earlier Frey work, Unhörbare Zeit (Inaudible Times), made of danker chords and even longer vistas of open space.