Franghiz Ali-Zadeh was born in 1947 in Baku, Azerbaijan, a former Soviet state that stands at a cultural crossroads with Persian, Turkic, Arab and Russian elements in its legacy.

Franghiz Ali-Zadeh was born in 1947 in Baku, Azerbaijan, a former Soviet state that stands at a cultural crossroads with Persian, Turkic, Arab and Russian elements in its legacy. She writes music that absorbs and comments on not just these influences, but more recent ones as well, including her heroes Olivier Messiaen, George Crumb and John Cage. This release features four recent works: 1998's "Oasis," which contains the sounds of water dripping and men's murmuring voices; 2001's evocative "Apsheron Quintet"; the ethereal "Music for Piano," completed in 1997; and 1993's haunting "Mugam Sayagi," which the Kronos Quartet gives an electrifying reading. (Ali-Zadeh herself performs as pianist in the quintet and on "Music for Piano.") The Kronos Quartet is in top form here, and this exciting release should catapult Ali-Zadeh's name to the forefront of contemporary music.—AT

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