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.
Michael Finnissy's Second Quartet is 'based on a compact Haydn model' - originally intended to be the 'Lark', Op.64, No.5 - and traces of its antecedent can be discerned within it. By contrast, the Third Quartet incorporates actual birdsong, both transcribed and recorded, in the composer's response to the natural world and man's place in it: the instruments gradually fade out, to leave only the sound of birds.
THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP 100 ALBUMS OF 2012
'Do the birds sing for any composer beyond Messiaen? Two British works of the new millennium, Jonathan Harvey’s glorious Bird Concerto with Piano Song and Michael Finnissy’s sublime Third String Quartet, have shown the answer to be an emphatic ‘yes’'. BBC Music Magazine
'Finnissy ultimately transcends the quartet genre.' BBC Music Magazine
‘…fascinating essays, inevitable extensions rather than subversions of quartet tradition' The Sunday Times
'…a fluid and playful work whose intensity is offset by its teasing unexpectedness' International Record Review
'…only Finnissy could write what adds up to a symphonic movement, splice in bird song and label it ‘string quartet' Gramophone
The Second Quartet was recorded live at St Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, London, on 8 March 2007. The Third Quartet was recorded at St John the Baptist, Aldbury, London on 29 November 2010.
Recording Engineer JONATHAN HASKELL (Astounding Sounds)
Musical Supervision MICHAEL FINNISSY
Producer PETER SHEPPARD SKÆRVED
Digital Editing & Mastering JONATHAN HASKELL
Executive Producer COLIN MATTHEWS
Cover image: Incorporating 'Sutter Street up from Grant Avenue after the San Francisco earthquake, 1906', Detroit Publishing Co., courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Graphic design: FRANCOIS HALL
(P) 2012 NMC Recordings Ltd
(C) 2012 NMC Recordings Ltd