Arditti, Irvine

In addition to his phenomenal career as first violinist of the Arditti Quartet, Irvine Arditti continues to excel as an extraordinary soloist. Born in London in 1953, he began his studies at the Royal Academy of Music at the age of 16. He joined the London Symphony Orchestra in 1976 and after two years, at the age of 25, became its Co-Concert Master. He left the orchestra in 1980 in order to devote more time to the Arditti Quartet, which he had formed while still a student.
During the past decade Irvine Arditti has given world premières of numerous large scale works written for him: these include Xenakis’ Dox Orkh and Hosokawa’s Landscape III, both for violin and orchestra, as well as Ferneyhough’s Terrain, Francesconi’s Riti Neurali, Dillon’s Vernal Showers and Harvey’s Scena, all for violin and ensemble. He has appeared with many distinguished orchestras and ensembles, including the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Orchestre National de Paris,  Asko Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble and the London Sinfonietta.

Arditti Quartet

Arditti Quartet
String Quartet
The Arditti Quartet enjoys a world-wide reputation for its spirited and technically refined interpretations of contemporary and earlier twentieth-century music: several hundred string quartets and other chamber works have been written for the ensemble since its foundation by first violinist Irvine Arditti in 1974, many of which have earned a permanent place in the repertoire. World premieres of quartets by composers including Birtwistle, Cage, Carter, Dillon, Ferneyhough, Harvey, Kagel, Kurtag, Lachenmann, Ligeti, Nancarrow, Rihm, Scelsi, Stockhausen and Xenakis show the wide range of music in the Quartet’s repertoire.
The ensemble believes that close collaboration with composers is vital to the process of interpreting modern music, and attempts to work with each composer whose music it performs; the players’ commitment to educational work is reflected in master-classes and workshops for young performers and composers given all over the world.
The Quartet’s extensive discography now features over 150 discs, forty-two of which have been released as part of its continuing series on the French label Naïve Montaigne. Over the past 25 years, the Quartet has received many prizes for its work, including the Deutsche Schallplatten Preis (several times) and the Gramophone Award for the best recording of contemporary music (twice). The prestigious Ernst von Siemens Music Prize was awarded to the Quartet in 1999 for ‘lifetime achievement’ in music.

Kawai, Noriko


Noriko Kawai studied at the Royal College of Music, London and the Academia di Santa Cecilia in Rome. She has given many recitals and broadcasts throughout the world and is well known for the extraordinary range of her repertoire from Renaissance composers to new music, and innovative programmes juxtaposing standard and contemporary works.

Kawai has recently performed at festivals in Aldeburgh, Bath, Huddersfield, Macerata, Paris, Strasbourg, Brussels, Venice, Berlin and Valencia. She has given duo recitals with the violinist Irvine Arditti and concerts with the Leopold String Trio, the Arditti Quartet and the Quatuor Diotima.

For the NMC label Kawai has recorded works by Gerald Barry, and more recently James Dillon’s The Book of Elements Volumes I–V. The latter received unanimous critical acclaim including ‘Editor’s Choice’ in Gramophone (2004). Kawai’s earlier Skryabin recital CD from Live Notes, Japan, was also hailed as a major artistic achievement. In 2006, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov, she gave the world première of Dillon’s Piano Concerto at the BBC Proms.

Recent concerto engagements include the first performances of Dillon’s Andromeda, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conducted by Ilan Volkov, in London (BBC Proms 06) and Glasgow, and Lachenmann’s Ausklang in ‘Transcendent – the Music of Helmut Lachenmann’ presented by the Royal College of Music and the London Sinfonietta. In the autumn of 2007 Kawai also gave the French première of Andromeda, with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Liège/Pascal Rophé, at the festival Musica in Strasbourg, and the first performances of Dillon’s duo for cello and piano, The Hesperides, with Rohan de Saram, at the festivals Ultima in Oslo, and Sound in North-east Scotland.

Noriko Kawai was formerly a Professor of Piano at the Royal College of Music, London and is currently Associate Professor of Collaborative Piano at the University of Minnesota.

Takenouchi, Hiroaki

Heralded by The Times as “just the sort of champion the newest of new music needs”, while being praised as “impeccable in his pianism and unfailing in his idiomatic grasp” by Gramophone, Takenouchi’s curiosity and a natural penchant for integrity makes his playing and vast repertoire unique amongst his generation of pianists: his love for the music of classical masters – particularly Haydn, Beethoven and Chopin – sits side by side with his passion for the music of Medtner, lesser-known British composers such as Sterndale Bennett and Parry, and the contemporary repertoire. As a soloist, he has recently appeared on many concert platforms including the Wigmore Hall, Tokyo Opera City, the South Bank Centre. He has also performed at festivals in Bath, Cheltenham and Salzburg and given recitals in the UK, Japan, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy and Canada. His more unusual recent appearances include piano solo works by Sterndale Bennett specially recorded for BBC Radio 3’s Composer of the Week programme, the Rarities of Piano Repertoire Festival in Husum (Germany) and the BBC Four documentary The Prince and the Composer on the life and music of Parry alongside HRH The Prince of Wales. Takenouchi’s discography includes Haydn: 4 Sonatas (Artalinna), Cosmos Haptic: Contemporary Piano Music from Japan (LORELT) as well as the world première recordings of works by James Dillon (NMC), Edwin Roxburgh (NMC) and Jeremy Dale Roberts (LORELT). 2012 saw two further releases: two piano arrangements of Delius’s orchestral works (SOMM with Simon Callaghan), and a highly acclaimed disc of piano concertos by Catoire and Sherwood (another world première recording) with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra (Dutton Epoch). Since 2012 Takenouchi has been teaching piano at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow). He also returns every summer to give masterclasses at the Poros International Piano Academy (Greece) and Ingenium International Music Academy (UK).
  • Total duration: 75'49
  • CD | PRICE £12.99

  • MP3 | 320K 44.1 KHz
    106.6 MB
     | PRICE £7.99

  • FLAC 16 | 16bit 44.1 KHz
    249.10 MB
     | PRICE £8.99

  • Album Booklet PDF | FREE



Following her acclaimed recording of Dillon's Book of Elements, Noriko Kawai returns to NMC - joined by Irvine Arditti and the Arditti Quartet, in their first recording for NMC. This disc spans Dillon's career - from early piano caprice Dillug-Kefitsah, and the phantasmagorical sequence Traumwerk, for violin and piano, to brooding piano duo black/ nebulae - with pianist Hiroaki Takenouchi - and piano quintet the soadie waste, which takes its name from a dilapidated Glaswegian dance hall on the site of a former chemical-works; it was said that during 'hot' dance sessions the locals could detect chemical seepage.

Irvine Arditti, violin
Noriko Kawai, piano
Arditti Quartet
Hiroaki Takenouchi, piano


'An arresting survey of a composer noted for the cerebral and visceral ... a bracing and engaging experience' Gramophone

'NMC has become a reliable champion of James Dillon's remarkable music, and its third collection devoted to him is not only the most impressive so far, but also marks the belated debut of the Arditti Quartet on the label. Written for that group with the pianist Noriko Kawai, The Soadie Waste from 2003 is archetypal Dillon, a work grounded in the composer's experiences of growing up on the outskirts of Glasgow in the 1960s ... which uses his dense, complex musical language to communicate great physical power, exuberance and immediacy... Dillon's instrumental writing takes no prisoners, but the playing of Kawai and the Ardittis in all these works is remarkable too; no composer could hope for better.' Guardian


James Dillon’s music is published by Edition Peters.






This disc was recorded at Potton Hall, Suffolk: TraumwerkDel Cuarto Elemento and Dillug-Kefitsah were recorded on 28-29 June 2007, black/ nebulae on 7 July 2007, and the soadie waste on 27 July 2007.

Executive Producer: COLIN MATTHEWS


(P) 2008 NMC Recordings Ltd.

Edition Peters
Catalogue number:
NMC D131
Release Date:
3 March 2008