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Kronic contemporaneity

What the Kronos quartet represents is less the genuinely new than the literally recent. But it may be our only great vehicle for experimental music

By Erik Tarloff   March 2003

When the members of the Kronos quartet step on to the stage of the Barbican on the 21st and 22nd March, they will be celebrating the ensemble’s 30th anniversary with two programmes that, in their heterodox weirdness, are entirely characteristic. The first concert, a music-and-video melange, contains pieces with titles like ‘Cat O’ Nine Tails’ and ‘Boogie Woogie 3A’. No composer represented on this programme was born before the turn of the 20th century. The oldest, Hollywood’s Bernard Herrmann (in an arrangement of his score for the sci-fi movie, ‘The Day the Earth Stood Still’), was born in 1911, while…

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