Complete String Quartets
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Kirchner's music should appeal to those who enjoy Schoenberg or Webern.

The powerfully communicative voice of the composer and conductor Leon Kirchner has both moved and challenged audiences for more than 50 years. Passionate, rhapsodic, and always relentlessly honest, his artistry is based on a deep appreciation of the past, translated into intensely personal terms. Kirchner has received numerous commissions and honors, including the Pulitzer Prize and appointments to the National Institute of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In recognition of his unique contribution to the music and culture of our time, Leon Kirchner was awarded Honorary Life Membership to the Friends of Arnold Schoenberg Institute. He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on January 24, 1919 and began his musical studies on the piano at the age of four. His family moved to Los Angeles where Kirchner began composing while a student at Los Angeles City College and with the encouragement of his piano teachers and Ernst Toch, entered the class of Arnold Schoenberg at the University of California at Los Angeles. The master composer profoundly affected Kirchner and proved to be a crucial influence throughout his career. A fiercely individual composer, Leon Kirchner has created a unique voice. In an advanced and often complex musical idiom of linear chromaticism, asymmetric rhythms, and contrasting textures, he has composed music of surging physicality, lyricism, and sensuousness. Aaron Copland observed, "The impression carried away from a Kirchner performance is one of having made contact not merely with the composer, but with a highly sentient human being; of a man who creates his music out of an awareness of the special climate of today's unsettled world; Kirchner's pages prove that he reacts strongly to that world; they are charged with an emotional impact and explosive power that is almost frightening in intensity. Whatever else may be said, this is music that is most certainly felt."
Leon Kirchner, composer
String Quartet No. 1
Boston Composers String Quartet

Leon Kirchner, composer
String Quartet No. 2
Boston Composers String Quartet

Leon Kirchner, composer
String Quartet No. 3 for Strings and Electronic Tape
Boston Composers String Quartet

"The Bartokian No. 1 is exciting but easy to listen to. No. 2 is the most challenging, but the Schoenbergian atonality is made palatable by vital rhythms. Then comes the astonishing No. 3, which combines quartet and electronic tape and won a well-deserved Pulitzer Prize. This is a superb and overdue release." (Classical Pulse)
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