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For the recording of Fragments, the Vienna-based composer and musician Matthias Jakisic yielded his customary role as a violinist to take up that of the conductor, entrusting the collective performance of the pieces to his four colleagues, string players who are among the best in Vienna. On twelve instrumental compositions and two pieces arranged for string quartet, Nikolai Tunkowitsch, Emily Stewart, Lena Funkhouser, and Asja Valčić demonstrate a musical connection based on many years of playing together that allows for new approaches to the realization of Jakisic’s music.

Influences from Vivaldi, Bartok, Messiaen and Phillip Glass’s minimal music up through George Martin’s intonation reflect the contemporary way of thinking of a composer who not only confidently places himself in the present but also reveals his musical past. For more than 20 years, Jakisic has been operating at the intersection between the classical violin and its electric extension. In addition to realizing contemporary productions, he has worked amongst others as a composer, musical director, and live performer at the Burgtheater in Vienna, and has been composing for the Theater in der Josefstadt since 2018. Years of theater experience expand his range of influences, as does his Eastern European family heritage, which lives on in the flair of his harmony and orchestral techniques.

The melancholy mood of the first two pieces expands through rhythmic oscillations in 3 as well as through oratorical ornamentation in 4, Streitsong (Conflict Song), Chordstructure (Chord Structure), and Glassisch (Glassical). The economical use of vibrato contributes to the emotional impact of the music and reveals unrestricted access to melody and harmony on pieces such as Trauer (Grief) and Tragisch (Tragic). Individual fragments recall string quartets from earlier centuries, while their intertwined entirety creates a reference to the here and now. This is not least due to the unusual recording technique. Jakisic decided against a conventional stereo recording above the quartet in favour of recording each instrument through an individual microphone. This results in a level of detail that is rarely associated with the classical recordings of the 20th century.

In Fragments, Matthias Jakisic combines orchestral eloquence with emotional aspirations into a clear and original vision of what the classical string quartet in the 21st century should sound like.

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