Release date: 7 April 2023
In 2017, when NMC and Wigmore Hall chose Bracing Change as the title for their new series of string commissions, they had no idea of the change lying ahead for the planet. Now in a world only beginning to process the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, amongst so much other turbulence, we present the second instalment in the series, introducing three new works to the string quartet repertoire. The composers Mark-Anthony Turnage, Paul Newland, and Helen Grime, all contribute to the rich history of the medium in hugely varying musical voices, as they collaborate with three of the most distinguished, internationally-renowned string quartet ensembles today.
John Gilhooly, Wigmore Hall Director, says, "This ground-breaking partnership between Wigmore Hall, The Radcliffe Trust and NMC Recordings continues with Mark-Anthony Turnage’s Contusion. The Piatti Quartet deservedly received a prize for their magnificent interpretation of the piece, when it was the compulsory work for the 2015 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition. This recording of the revised version – which was premiered by the Piatti Quartet – dates from a few years later, following further deep engagement with the work. It is described by The Guardian as a ‘concise, poignantly balanced one movement cry of pain’.
The exceptional Montreal-based Quatuor Bozzini brings us Paul Newland’s difference is everywhere (altered), in which subtly shifting chordal textures build gradually to create a uniquely haunting sense of beauty. The album closes with Helen Grime’s String Quartet No. 2. Helen was Wigmore Hall’s first female Composer in Residence and her new quartet was created against the particularly intense backdrop of pandemic lockdowns in 2020 and 2021. It is premiered here by the Heath Quartet."
1. Mark-Anthony Turnage Contusion
2. Paul Newland difference is everywhere (altered)
3. Helen Grime String Quartet No. 2
Check out the first release in the series, Bracing Change (2017), here
GRAMOPHONE EDITORS CHOICE: JUNE 2023
'The NMC label offers us another superb insight into contemporary quartet writing - three composers, three quartets and three compelling performances.' Gramophone
'Quatuor Bozzini present exemplary ensemble throughout [Paul Newland's] quietly powerful piece [...] a fine instalment of a worthwhile series.' Performance ★★★★★, Recording ★★★★ BBC Music Magazine
'Turnage packs a lot into less than 15 minutes and the Piatti Quartet captures his music’s concentrated emotion [...] A fine performance by the Heath Quartet carries the listener through [a] fast-changing landscape.' ★★★★ Financial Times
'NMC and Wigmore Hall’s latest collaboration is a winner' The Strad
'One of my favourite releases of 2023.' Sequenza21
Contusion was recorded on 21 & 22 September 2017 at Champs Hill, West Sussex.
ALEXANDER VAN INGEN Executive Producer
MATTHEW BENNETT Producer
DAVE ROWELL Recording Engineer
difference is everywhere (altered) was recorded on 10 March 2019 at Turner Sims Concert Hall, Southampton.
DAVID LEFEBER Recording Engineer & Producer
String Quartet No.2 was recorded on 20 July 2022 at Wigmore Hall, London.
STEVE PORTNOI Recording Engineer & Producer
STEVE PORTNOI Mastering
FUNDERSThis Bracing Change series is a co-commissioning partnership between the
Radcliffe Trust, Wigmore Hall and NMC Recordings.
NMC is grateful for the support of the Vaughan Williams Foundation, the Barbara Whatmore Charitable Trust, the Hargreaves and Ball Trust, and the Radcliffe Trust in making this recording.
NMC would like to thank John Gilhooly and all at Wigmore Hall for their assistance
in the making of this recording.
Catalogue no: NMCD242
Release date: 7 April 2023