Kreutzer Quartet

Kreutzer Quartet

The Kreutzer Quartet has forged an enviable reputation as one of the Europe's most dynamic and innovative string quartets. They are the dedicatees of numerous works, and over many years have forged creative partnerships with composers including Sir Michael Tippett, David Matthews, Michael Finnissy, Judith Weir, and Haflidi Hallgrimsson. They have a particularly strong relationship to a cross-section of leading American composers, having collaborated intensively with George Rochberg in the last few years of his life, as long as working closely with figures as Elliott Schwartz, and the prolific symphonist Gloria Coates. As recording artists they have won critical acclaim for their discs on the Naxos, Metier, and Chandos labels. They are Artists in Association at Quartet at York University, and at Wiltons Music Hall. Their work in collaboration with art galleries has garnered much attention, and large audiences, particularly their annual residency at the Tate Gallery, St Ives.

Image Credit: 
Leif Johannsen


Edward Cowie - In Flight Music

  • Total duration: 74'12
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Kreutzer Quartet
Peter Sheppard Skærved, Mihailo Trandafilovski
Morgan Goff viola, Neil Heyde cello

Edward Cowie describes himself as 'the musical equivalent of a plein air visual artist', with compositions evolving from sketches or paintings done in situ. The natural world is inspiration for much of his music and on this album he focuses on flight; mainly of birds and insects. In String Quartet No. 3 ‘In Flight Music’ he adds contrast with two flying-machine-titled movements Hang-gliders and Vapour Trails.

String Quartet No.5 ‘Birdsong Bagatelles’ features 24 brief movements, which collectively cover all the major and minor keys of the chromatic scale. Each piece is named after a bird (Wren, Blackbird, Magpie ...) but Cowie avoids the Messiaen-style approach and instead focuses on the visual displays of birds and their habitat, rather than bird song.

String Quartet No.4 explores mortality. The quartet plays a continuous, slowly ascending emotional and sensual ‘hill-climb’, which ends with a hymn-like theme.


'the music has a lighter-than-air transparency to it, constantly changing and renewing itself.' The Guardian

‘these finely wrought, idiomatically written and often quite beautiful works...generously repay repeated hearings.’ MusicWeb International

'The Kreutzer Quartet bring a transparent, wiry sound to In Flight Music, filling its carefully-wrought textures with light.' BBC Music Magazine

'Cowie's music does sound natural, and in ways far more elusive and compelling than simply mimicking the sounds of that sunny garden.' Gramophone Magazine

'all four musicians play with impressive technical precious and unified ensemble...the disc's sound quality and balance are excellent.' Fanfare Magazine


This recording was made possible with funds provided by:

Dr Peter and Anna Rousch • Dr Michael and Adrian Quilter
Linde Hogg • Virginia Arnott • Barbara and Ron Pearce
John Fuller and Dr Andrew Brown • Mirjam Koenig • Stephen Plaistow


Recorded at St John the Baptist Church, Aldbury, Hertfordshire 22 October 2014, 15 April 2015, 23 September 2015

JONATHAN HASKELL (Astounding Sounds) Recording Engineer & editing
EDWARD COWIE Music Supervision

COLIN MATTHEWS Executive Producer for NMC

FRANCOIS HALL Graphic design
Cover image: © Sonia Goncalves (

United Music Publishers
Catalogue number:
NMC D222
Release Date:
19 February 2016