as a fan of walter piston i'm always on the look out for new releases. i was more than happy to see this release of some of his string quartets and knowing naxos, the rest of them will soon be following. one can only hope, for this disk contains music from one of america's musical craftsmen.
accused of being a composer of music that was too academic, piston, always the neoclassicist, wrote music with tight elegant classical structures but with modern language. well, 20th century american musical language anyway. but how piston differed from several american composers of the time is that he was a true neoclassicist. his music was about form not program. these quartets can be placed beside the quartets of mozart and haydn for several comparisons save the musical language of course. if memory serves, it was the liner notes from this cd where piston takes a "well, what can i tell you. these pieces are in sonata form..." kind of approach to explaining his music. no program, no heart wrenching stories, no musical description of nature.
as can be expected from the man who wrote the widely used books of harmony, orchestration, and counterpoint piston wrote music that may have been academic but also very well crafted; modern yet approachable; and yet somehow recognizable as american. these quartets are completely enjoyable. more please :)