Today, The Fry Street Quartet releases The Crossroads Project on Navona Records: a captivating recording blending art and science to address global sustainability, featuring new works by Pulitzer Prize nominee Laura Kaminsky and Grammy Award winner Libby Larsen. The Crossroads Project Exemplifies the FSQ’s intellectual and musical curiosity and collaborative spirit. The album commemorates the ensemble’s signature multimedia performance of the same name, created in collaboration with physicist Dr. Robert Davies, which has toured to 20 cities for a total of 30 performances.
“The FSQ has always been motivated by the goal of relevancy, in matters big and small. We feel it’s critical that we bring our artistic voices to bear on a topic vital to human society,” says Fry Street Quartet cellist Anne Francis Bayless.
“The Crossroads Project is intended to encourage a sense of wonder at the beauty of the natural world, and bring listeners into a place of reverence. After listening, we hope some will dig further into the mission of our project, and be encouraged to learn more.”
In addition to demonstrating expert craftsmanship and musicality, the recording evokes natural wonders and the composers’ responses to the plight that they, and we, face. The Project looks unblinkingly at the fact that the beauty and life-sustaining power of our natural resources may be ephemeral if we do not act.
The water cycle forms the basis of Larsen’s “Emergence.” Simultaneously, it captures a vast, potent emotional landscape. At one crucial moment, a wistful folk tune becomes distorted as its accompaniment becomes increasingly dark and jagged. Yet the work ends on a hopeful note, with the quartet resolved in a shared melody, and, ultimately, resounding as one gleaming, unified voice.
Kaminsky’s “Rising Tide” tackles the divide between the natural world and man-made ecosystems. With a vivid, kinetic score, it encompasses a global life cycle. Opening with sounds of wonder at the first stirrings of life, it goes on to illustrate the lushness of a world full of vitality as well as the turmoil of a complex civilization.
The recording underscores the quartet’s longstanding relationship with Kaminsky. The FSQ recently appeared as the accompanying ensemble for As One — the composer’s critically acclaimed opera centered on a transgendered individual — at BAM.
“The Fry Street Quartet is the most thoughtful, artistically committed intellectually vibrant group of artists I have ever known,” Kaminsky says.
“The Crossroads Project is the most fully realized manifestation of my work as a composer, using my music as a means of expressing my concerns about the fate of the earth.”
“The arts, and music in particular, have long been instrumental in social change movements,” adds FSQ violinist Robert Waters.
“The simpler goal of this recording is to generate a wider audience for these two fantastic new works. Our larger goal, though, is to spread awareness of the work of The Crossroads Project and, by extension, its call to action for each of us to work, as quickly as we can, to change our path away from environmental destruction and toward a sustainable world.”