The Miró Quartet’s Latest Brings It On ‘Home’

July 2 | Reviews

By Craig Cahill for Strings Magazine

The award-winning Miró Quartet has never shied away from big concepts—the first chamber ensemble ever to be awarded a coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant has produced an Emmy Award–winning multimedia project titled Transcendence centered on a performance of Franz Schubert’s Quartet in G major on rare Stradivari instruments. And Here on Earth found the quartet offering musical depictions of planet Earth, its evolution, and the lives of its inhabitants.

Home draws its inspiration from our living space, or lack thereof. That ranges far beyond geographic points to embrace stability and the sense of community, but also constant change and loss. The centerpiece is Caroline Shaw’s (b. 1982) six-movement Microfictions, Vol. 1, which includes a long recitation. The music is intense, playful, and thought provoking. That work is bookended by Kevin Puts’ (b. 1972) three-movement Home and George Walker’s (1922–2018) Quartet No. 1, as well as Samuel Barber’s (1910–81) String Quartet in B minor, Op. 11, and Harold Arlen’s (1905–86) “Over the Rainbow.”

While it’s not immediately clear how these disparate works connect with the home theme, there no question that Arlen’s timeless classic from The Wizard of Oz is very much connected: “There’s no place like home,” Dorothy recites, as she clicks her ruby slippers in anticipation of reuniting with Auntie Em and Uncle Henry. These are often breathtaking performances, and the Miró’s interpretation of Walker’s elegiac Molto Adagio is truly stunning.

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