Home is a 2019 work written for the Miró Quartet by Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Kevin Puts, but also suggests a broader theme for this album. Its tranquil opening movement was given something of a preview, performed in an arrangement involving choir, when the Miró made a guest appearance on the choral group Conspirare’s 2023 album House of Belonging. Here, in its original form, it’s a prelude to a more disturbing journey. Prompted by the Syrian civil war and resulting refugee crisis, Home’s final section includes alarming squeals that conjure flaring fireworks or perhaps shrieking bullets. After the comforting strains of George Walker’s “Molto adagio” from String Quartet No. 1 (1946) comes Caroline Shaw’s Microfictions [volume 1]. Written during COVID while cooped up in a small Manhattan apartment, Shaw’s six short pieces take inspiration from author T.R. Darling’s “Microfictions” published on Twitter: each of Shaw’s pieces is prefaced by a “microfiction” of her own, read by the author. The final piece in which the players create strange seething sounds from their instruments is particularly striking. Samuel Barber’s 1936 String Quartet in B Minor receives an intense performance, its “Molto adagio” movement given a tenderness and intimacy often lost in the well-known Adagio arrangement for string orchestra. As an encore, the Miró offer a sweetly beguiling account of “Over the Rainbow” arranged by William Ryden.

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