This CD represents the first-ever complete compilation of Antheil's string quartet works, each of which was composed during a different stylistic era in Antheil's development. The result is a tour through a variety of familiar 20th Century styles now inhabited by the ghosts of five "new", very provocative pieces that comprise a missing link in the repertoire of American 20th Century music.
The release is accompanied by a 20-page booklet with historical photos and an essay by Italian musicologist Mauro Piccinini, who is researching a biography of the composer. Producer for the project is Charles Amirkhanian, artistic director of Other Minds, whose involvement in reviving the music of Antheil dates to 1970, when he produced an all-Antheil concert that included for the first time since the 1920s the composer's earlier radical compositions. A great deal of historical research by the performers preceded the recording sessions to most closely match Antheil's original intentions.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey to German-American parents, George Antheil (1900-1959) moved to Berlin in 1922 to pursue a career as concert pianist but soon migrated to Paris where he became the darling of the English-speaking literary and artistic crowd. His Ballet Mecanique for multiple pianos and percussion was a cause celebre in the circle of Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Ford Madox Ford, Man Ray, and Joan Miró. In the early 1930s he returned to the U.S., settling in Hollywood, where he composed symphonic and chamber music and supported his family by writing film scores to such notablefilms as In a Lonely Place and The Pride and the Passion.
The dynamic Del Sol String Quartet rose to international attention with the release of its 2002 CD, Tear, which earned the vibrant ensemble accolades including "emotionally riveting", "immediately engrossing and consuming", "passionate virtuosity" and "first rate". The Del Sol has never sounded better, its bright mission vibrantly continuing to light the way for the future of today's classical music.
Tear, features works by living and recent composers, and its contents exemplify the Quartet's artistic profile: to present new music for new audiences. Experiencing a Del Sol performance or recording is to become an active party to the creative process and continuum of living music history. Though thoroughly contemporary, the Del Sol is a catalyst for the creation of music in a way that has been ironically lost in recent generations. The Quartet actively partners with living composers and audiences, and the result is relevant, responsive, passionate and immediate music that is extremely satisfying and celebrates the diverse and expanding frontiers of accessibility.
Audience outreach programs to young listeners are an integral part of the Quartet's activities. For more than a decade, the quartet has given lectures/performances by invitation from presenters including the San Francisco Symphony Adventures in Music series, San Francisco Libraries, Music at Kohl Mansion, Young Audiences of the Bay Area, American Composers Forum and San Francisco Performances, the City's largest independent concert presenter. To date, the Del Sol has performed over 300 concerts for more than 30,000 young people. Emphasizing local living composers, the Quartet brings the vitality of music today into the classroom, and its efforts have been praised in a feature in Strings Magazine. The Del Sol's bi-annual QuartetFest is a nationally regarded model for young string players to come together for intensive chamber music coaching and performances.
The Del Sol's Grammy-nominated 2005 CD of the complete string quartet repertory of George Antheil on the Other Minds label is the definitive recording of the composer who was among the most popular writers of the 20th century, and it has sparked a revival of interest in his chamber works. Current projects include touring, performances of the string quartets of ground-breaking, hip-hop inspired American composer Daniel Bernard Roumain, a collaboration with contemporary Korean women composers and a partnership with Melody of China, the Bay Area's internationally acclaimed traditional Chinese music ensemble, and composer Kui Dong. Founded in 1992, the Del Sol String Quartet began its life in residence at the Banff Centre for the Arts, followed by residency at San Francisco State University in association with the Alexander String Quartet. Other appointments have included the 2003 "Emerging Quartets and Composers Residency" with the Muir String Quartet and Joan Tower in Park City, Utah; Quartet-in-Residence at University of New Mexico; and an upcoming residency at Walden in 2006. Del Sol appears on programs presented by Other Minds, San Francisco Performances, Montalvo Arts Center and Santa Fe New Music/Santa Fe Opera.