Winter Was Hard

Kronos Quartet


“This album served as a kind of audio business card for Kronos in 1988. It announced to anyone listening that Kronos was prepared to claim huge swaths of musical territory for the string quartet, for the first time. NY downtown hero John Zorn, Lounge Lizards founder John Lurie, minimalist founder Terry Riley, and Nuevo tango king Astor Piazzolla were all represented. Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings (in its original quartet form) is also here, as if to say that the acknowledged classics and these newer excursions were all equally absorbing. And then there’s the title track. 98 seconds of glowing choral music with strings and pump organ by Finland’s Aulis Sallinen which stands among his finest moments, and Kronos’s too.”

John Schaefer, Q2 Music (WQXR New York Public Radio)

About the album

David Harrington on the making of Winter Was Hard, Kronos’ third full-length for Nonesuch Records: “All the while I was puzzling, how do we organize this mass of musical information into coherent experiences? With our concerts in those days, in the mid-80s, there were just so many ideas that we were experimenting with. Then it was the same way with the albums… If you go back and listen to our early albums for Nonesuch, what I love about them is that you never know what is going to happen next.”


Kronos Quartet
David Harrington, violin
John Sherba, violin
Hank Dutt, viola
Joan Jeanrenaud, cello

San Francisco Girls Chorus, Elizabeth Appling, director
Earl L. Miller, reed organ

Ohta Hiromi, voice
Christian Marclay, turntables

Produced by Judith Sherman and Kronos Quartet, except Forbidden Fruit produced by John Zorn
Executive Producer: Robert Hurwitz

  1. Winter Was Hard, Op. 20
    Composed by Aulis Sallinen, arr. Kronos Quartet
    Original text by Bo Carpelan
  2. Half-Wolf Dances Mad in Moonlight (from Salome Dances for Peace)
    Composed by Terry Riley
  3. Fratres
    Composed by Arvo Pärt, realized by Thomas Höfer
  4. Six Bagatelles, Op. 9 – Mäßig / Leicht Bewegt / Ziemlich Fließend / Sehr Langsam / Äußerst Langsam / Fließend
    Composed by Anton Webern
  5. Forbidden Fruit (Variations for Voice, String Quartet and Turntables) (feat. Ohta Hiromi and Christian Marclay)
    Composed by John Zorn
    Original texts by Reck
  6. Bella By Barlight
    Composed by John Lurie
  7. Four, for Tango
    Composed by Astor Piazzolla
  8. Quartet No. 3 – Andante / Agitato / Pesante
    Composed by Alfred Schnittke
  9. Adagio
    Composed by Samuel Barber
  10. A Door is Ajar
    Traditional, arr. Kronos Quartet

Released by Nonesuch Records



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