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Manto and Madrigals

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Manto and Madrigals
Manto and Madrigals


In their first recording as a duo, violinist Thomas Zehetmair and violist Ruth Killius take the listener on a stunning tour of modern music, playing works by Bartók, Holliger, Scelsi, Martinu, Skalkottas, Rainer Killius, Johannes Nied and Peter Maxwell Davies. "The instruments dazzle, dance and declaim, play games with one another," remarks Paul Griffiths in the liner notes.

The husband and wife team who comprise half of the multi-award winning Zehetmair Quartet have been playing this material as part of their recital work for several years already, with great success. These pieces formed the core of their performance at ECM's 40th anniversary festival in Mannheim - a concert singled out by critics as a highlight of the event - and they perform music from Manto and Madrigal in London in early April.

On this recording, the relationships between the pieces and between the instruments are explored in compositions that range from Scelsi's dissonant and microtonal journey toward the mystic core of music making, with Killius as singer as well as viola soloist to duo pieces that incorporate elements, archaic or playful, from regional folk music. There is very early Bartók here, and music of Schoenberg's sole Greek pupil Skalkottas. There are three sketches by Heinz Holliger, written especially for Zehetmair and Killius, playful madrigals by Martinu, and an encore provided by the performers' friend Johannes Nied.

Thomas Zehetmair, virtuoso violinist, conductor, and musical director of the Northen Sinfonia, has recorded Holliger's Violin Concerto for ECM and his solo discs of Ysaÿe and Paginini won great critical acclaim. He and Ruth Killius co-founded the Zehetmair Quartet in 1994. Their Schumann Quartets album was Gramophone's Record of the Year in 2003 and the recent disc of Hindemith and Bartók was awarded the Diapason d'Or de l'Année.

Personnel: Thomas Zehetmair (violin), Ruth Killius (viola, solo on 2-4)


  1. Name
  2. Rainer Killius: Ó min flaskan friða
  3. Giacinto Scelsi: Manto for viola solo and female voice (1957), I
  4. II
  5. III
  6. Heinz Holliger: Drei Skizzen for violin and viola (2006), I Pirouettes harmoniques
  7. II Danse dense
  8. III Cantique à six voix
  9. Bela Bartók: Duo for two violins (1902)
  10. Nikos Skalkottas: Duo for violin and viola (1938), I Allegro vivo
  11. II Andante
  12. III Ben ritenuto
  13. Peter Maxwell Davies: Midhouse Air (1996)
  14. Bohuslav Martinu: Three Madrigals for violin and viola (1947), I Poco allegro
  15. II Poco andante
  16. III Allegro
  17. Johannes Nied: Zugabe (2004)
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