Single-minded and visionary composers are so often the ones most easily ignored by the changing currents of music taste. Ivan Wyschnegradsky (1893-1979) led a life characterized by exile and cultural exclusion; he was never part of any school, and the individuality of his work reflects his personal and lifelong determination to honor his deeply idiosyncratic muse.
The Arditti String Quartet of London, champions of Wyschnegradsky’s work, will perform his microtonal pieces for strings. While string music comprises a smaller portion of Wyschnegradsky’s catalogue than his better-known works for microtonal pianos, the Arditti Quartet makes a compelling case for Wyschnegradsky’s quartets, exploiting the expressive capabilities inherent to strings. The expanded scalar and harmonic palette, and wider variety of timbres lead the way to reforming a repertoire long confined to 12 equal-tempered tones.