Dudok Quartet Amsterdam – Solitude

Solitude

Judith Van Driel, Marleen Wester, Marie-Louise de Jong, and David Faber are the bright-eyed bushy-tailed precocious motherfuckers that make up Dudock Quartet. These young fucks decided to arrange an odd slew of different composers onto and album and called it “Solitude”. When quartets do this shit, it’s similar to making a custom mix tape, playlist, or whatever-fucking-format-you-use-to-share-songs-with-people. Most importantly, everything on this shit will have a meaning: placement, history, everything. Quartet albums work like young pre-teen girls handing their crushes their homemade mixtapes that, according to them, directly convey every hormone driven night-sweat soaked thought they’ve ever had for their undying loves. Figuring out the structuring and reasoning of this shit is part of the fun.

So, with that out of the way, let’s break down this bitch. 

Mendelssohn’s String Quartet No. 6, Op 80, is the last piece the dude wrote before he croaked in 1847. He wrote it for his dead sister Fanny. The other name for it, I shit you not, is “Requiem for Fanny.” (FYI: To North Americans reading this shit, don’t name your kid Fanny. Actually? Please do, then make them travel the world, a lot.) Mendelssohn’s string quartet No. 6 is a classical club hit. It plays often cause it’s dramatic as all fuck and conveys romantic remorse, depth, and darkness. Starting a quartet album with this shit is like starting you mixtape with a catchy song that begins a theme, but it’s also there to show you’re down to fuck and cool as hell. 

The other major arrangement on this album is String Quartet No. 3, Op 14, from Mieczyslaw Weinberg aka: Vaynberg, Vainberg, Wajnberg, Vijnberg. Now, why would a dude have so many ways to spell his last name? Well, Mieczyslaw had the unfortunate luck of being a Jew in Poland during the 1940s. Fuck. Jumping from country to country to run from a Nazi regime has a way of fucking up more shit than your last name. Mieczyslaw wrote this in 1944 at 26-years-old, three years after his entire family died at the hands of those motherfucking-goddamned-rotten-pieces-of-hagfish-covered-in-piss-and-shit Nazis.

By setting these two arrangements side-by-side, one written in 1847 and the other in 1944, both from the perspective of someone grieving and suddenly alone, it makes the theme of “Solitude” obvious as fuck. You might think that enjoying this album is like stealing ice cream from children just to watch them cry. But amid the dejection of these pieces comes optimism and healing. Hearing the fortitude of the human spirit through songs written a hundred years apart is inspiring as all fuck. And Dudok Quartet takes on these heavy themes with a grace and respect beyond their years. It’s a clever album performed by a quartet with the talent and chutzpah to take it on. Credit to every fucking hour of practice behind these notes without losing the immediacy of the moment. It’s a solid fucking play.

 

 

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