The Brodsky Quartet seems to have learned a lot from the Kronos Quartet.
The cover of Best of the Brodsky Quartet prominently displays the names Björk and Elvis Costello, as if indicating the Brodsky’s hip factor. And amidst a program of mostly Common Practice period pieces, a few pop tunes crop up.
But the Brodsky is not the Kronos, in the same sense that the Kronos is not the Arditti.
Although the Brodsky numbers Dave Brubeck and Paul McCartney as collaborators, the ensemble isn’t saddled with a mission to work exclusive in a particular era of music.
From the Kronos, the Brodsky has learned the value of embracing the ever pervasive popular culture, but unlike Kronos, the quartet frees itself to pursue music of all eras — even if the repetoire leans toward the more crowd-pleasing.
Best of the Brodsky Quartet spans a number of different styles — from a Japanese folk song to an arrangement of a movement from Sergei Prokofieff’s First Symphony. And it’s all performed tightly and expertly. The quartet even manages to keep a lock on the beat over Björk’s freely rhythmic chanteusing on “Hyperballad.”
Some selections are bit too obvious — Copland’s “Hoedown”? Gershwin’s “Summertime?”
Nonetheless, Best of the Brodsky Quartet amply demonstrates the Brodsky’s versatility and diversity.