I love this version with Waits backed by the Kronos Quartet, the string ensemble that is celebrating 40 years playing the works of living composers and influencing young musicians.
Nicholas Cords, the violist for Brooklyn Rider, said: “The influence of the Kronos Quartet has been felt by virtually any quartet operating today, even those who are not doing stuff on the fringe. They have had a huge role in generating interest in what a string quartet can do.” Kronos’s entrepreneurial model of creating repertory and “defining a quartet based around a passion,” he added, inspired the growth of his own ensemble. Mr. Harrington was inspired to found Kronos after hearing George Crumb’s “Black Angels,” a theatrical, anti-Vietnam War piece for strings and percussion that uses unconventional bowing techniques and electronic effects. During its early days, Kronos, which has undergone several personnel changes, performed Haydn and Mozart alongside new music. By the late 1970s, the group focused on contemporary music and began a series of longstanding collaborations with composers including Mr. Riley and Mr. Glass.