Heard here in a composer-conducted disc-mate to the première recording of Hovhaness’s early Cello Concerto (1936), City of Light (1970) has some lovely ideas, like the surprisingly sweet and simple string melody in the middle of the ‘Angel of Light’ movement (beginning at 1'30"), and the third movement, Allegretto grazioso, which sounds like a minuet in oriental garb. The outer movements, however, outstay their welcome.
First released in 1984 and reissued in 2001, this disc featuring the Alban Berg Quartet's recordings of the string quartets of Debussy and Ravel, as well as Stravinsky's Three Pieces, Concertino, and Double Canon for string quartet should never be out of the catalog. The Alban Berg Quartet is not necessarily the first group one would think of for this repertoire, but the performances here are consistently impressive, if somewhat uncharacteristic.
The violin was perhaps the most popular instrument of the 17th century. It turns up in nearly every Baroque instrumental genre, including the solo sonata, the concerto, and the immensely popular trio sonata (for two violins, often complimented by harpsichord, organ, or theorbo). Much less common, but equally compelling, are pieces for three violins with some sort of plucked or strummed accompaniment.