May 18, 2023

‘Metamorphosis Ligeti’ should become ‘go-to Ligeti string quartets disc’

“The Diotima’s balance of agility and virtuosity is remarkable.” 

Metamorphosis Ligeti, performed by Quatuor Diotima, received a fantastic five star review in the June Issue of Gramophone!

“Almost 30 years after the Arditti Quartet’s disc for the Ligeti Edition, 20 years after the LaSalle and Hagen Quartets’ disc on DG (the LaSalle reissued from 1970) and 15 years after the Parker Quartet on Naxos, this new Quatuor Diotima disc should become the go to Ligeti string quartets disc for the foreseeable future. By comparison with the Arditti, the Diotima recording quality is brighter, and alongside this, the performance has more of a sense of ongoing movement, of gliding across musical architectures in restless motion. The Diotima’s balance of agility and virtuosity is remarkable. After the First String Quartet, two brief student works are included as a breather, the lyrical, tonal Andante cantabile and Allegretto poco capriccioso.

Ligeti’s Second String Quartet, from 1969, has always been one of my favourite of his works. The polarity of febrile harmonies and thunderous growl; the shimmering lightning-flash flourishes; the hybridising of statistical techniques and the absurdist babble: all of Ligeti is here. The fine details are on show on this disc in high-definition audio, from blazing tremolo in the Allegro nervoso to the Sostenuto, molto calmo’s extended drone beset by overbowed fissures and decay. It’s clear that Quatuor Diotima have pondered upon the work for some time. They face Ligeti’s nocturnal phantasmagoria head-on, and in doing so they render it in all its hard-won beauty.”

Liam Cagney

Read the full review HERE.