March 27, Brooklyn Rider releases “Healing Modes,” featuring Du Yun’s i am my own achilles’ heel.


Brooklyn Rider: “Healing Modes”

“Healing Modes,” the newest album by the adventuresome string quartet Brooklyn Rider, is based on a program the group refined in concerts during the past few years, but its core theme—the interconnection of music and healthfulness—could not possibly be more relevant or necessary than it is currently. In a season awash with now postponed events intended to celebrate the two-hundred-and-fiftieth anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, this collection is inspired by the third movement of the composer’s String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, a luminous hymn conveying his thankfulness after he recovered from a life-threatening illness, in 1825. The quartet’s five movements are interwoven with five newly commissioned works that explore complementary notions. Reena Esmail and Gabriela Lena Frank, like Beethoven, expressively recall personal maladies overcome; Matana Roberts and Caroline Shaw address the U.S.-Mexico border conflict and the Syrian refugee crisis, respectively, as afflictions of the body politic; Du Yun turns inward and outward at once, evoking the societal stigma of mental illness. The concept proves sound: the juxtapositions are illuminating, the playing persuasive, and the timing almost impossibly serendipitous. — Steve Smith

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