: David Harrington, John Sherba (violin); Hank Dutt (viola); Jeffrey Zeigler (cello).
Although the Kronos Quartet first made its name performing challenging new music by 20th-century composers (as well as the occasional Jimi Hendrix cover), the group has slowly moved away from its modern purist roots into a more wide-ranging repertory. FLOODPLAIN abandons the Western classical tradition entirely in favor of a set of 12 short pieces especially commissioned for this recording. Composers and musical traditions from eastern Europe, South Asia, the Middle East and Africa are represented; the internal throughline holding the album together is that the pieces all hail from countries undergoing wars, internal political conflicts, or both. Containing both new settings of centuries-old folk songs native to these regions and brand new works by modern composers from the lands under discussion, ranging from Serbian composer Aleksandra Vrebalov to the Palestinian hip-hop group Ramallah Underground, FLOODPLAIN is a thought-provoking, entertaining album that places musical pursuits above social and political arguments.
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