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|Anna Meredith||various works from Nuc, including, Blackfriars|
|Steve Reich||Different Trains|
Alongside this poignant work Ligeti Quartet presents tracks from their new album Nuc, a collaboration with award-winning composer Anna Meredith. In addition to strings, Nuc features the sounds of synths, drum machines, birdsong, an MRI scanner, brass and hums, proving the durability of the string quartet in the 21st century.
The performance will last approximately 1 hour without an interval.
Richard Taruskin described Different Trains as ‘the only adequate musical response – one of the few adequate artistic responses in any medium – to the Holocaust’. This was one of Steve Reich’s first works which used ‘speech melody’ as a tool for melodic development and one of the first mainstream uses in classical music composition of digital sampling, a technique used by hip-hop and electronic dance music artists for years.
The idea for the piece came from Reich’s childhood journeys with his governess, Virginia, to visit his separated parents in Los Angeles and New York. Train sounds, chugging of steam trains, and whistles (both American and European), warning sirens and three pre-recorded string quartets form the sonic base for the speech samples, at the core of which is survivors’ reminiscences of the Holocaust – before, during and after the war.
The live quartet both imitates and enhances the background train noises and imitates the spoken phrases. Against the rhythmic train sound imitations, the lyricism and innate rhythmic clarity is brought out in these simple speech patterns making the poignancy of the words all the more affecting.
Nuc started life as a conversation between Anna Meredith and Richard Jones (LQ viola) after realising that after a decade of frequently working together, they had almost an album’s worth of music. So an idea developed in which they would not only make the first studio recordings of Anna’s original music for string quartet, but that Richard would create new arrangements of existing tracks by Anna.
The result is a joyful, occasionally furious, never too serious, energetic/restful collection of tracks which dazzle with Anna’s signature compulsive harmonies, rhythmic shifts of gear and sparkling textures.