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SIG 088
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SIG 088

Ghost Stories - The Smith Quartet

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2007

Originally recorded in 2007

Artists:

The Smith Quartet



Venue:

Trinity College of Music, London

29 May, 4 & 25 Jun, 3-7 Jul 2006

Producer:

Martin Cotton, Gavin Bryars, Tim Oldham, Michael Alcorn



Engineer:

Mike Hatch/Andrew Mellor



Record Label
Signum

Genre:

Chamber




Total Time - 74:44
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TIM SOUSTER

1 

Hambledon Hill

15:13
 

MICHAEL ALCORN

2 

The Old Woman of Beare

17:03
 

GAVIN BRYARS

3 

The Sinking of the Titanic

14:57
 

JAMES MACMILLAN

4 

Memento

4:45
 

STEPHEN MONTAGUE

5 

String Quartet No.1: in menoriam...

22:46
Ghost Stories - The Smith Quartet

Following on from the release of their critically acclaimed recording of Reich's Different Trains on Signum, The Smith Quartet, Britain's leading contemporary string ensemble, performs the works of five diverse British composers. The music is inspired by the ancient English landscape, ninth-century Irish poetry, twentieth-century human tragedy and the passing of friends.
A review from the Times says, 'Sobering responses to death link five works for string quartet and electronics', and awards the disc four stars.

There's no connection between the five recent works on this superbly played disc, other than the British affiliations of all the composers involved - US-born Stephen Montague has surely been based here long enough now to qualify as part of the British new-music establishment. Three of the pieces involve electronics. In Michael Alcorn's The Old Woman of Beare, they provide one layer in an amalgam that also involves a narrator reading a ninth-century Irish poem. In Gavin Bryars' The Sinking of the Titanic (which the Smith Quartet play in a shortened version, made specially for them), the electronics add documentary detail to this still strangely affecting collage. And Tim Souster's Hambledon Hill is a dialogue between the live quartet and its recorded and transformed image. If Souster's piece is a reminder of a talented composer who died far too young, then Montague's First Quartet is a memorial of another kind, written explicitly to honour two of his composer friends and driving itself to a ferocious, angry climax. - Andrew Clements, The Guardian

" ... compelling blend of live ensemble and electronics"


Michael Quinn

 

Journal for Music in Ireland - November 2007

"As versatile as the Kronos Quartet, and smoother than the Brodskys, The Smith Quartet have edged ahead of their competitors in contemporary chamber music. In ’Ghost Stories’, Tim Souster’s "Hambledon Hill" moves from skittering glissandi to a unison of striking intensity, echoed in Stephen Montague’s String Quartet No 1, while Michael Alcorn’s eerie "The Old Woman of Beare" has whispered into nations over skeletal harmonies. Though brilliantly played, Gavin Bryars’s "The Sinking of the Titanic" is the weakest work and, at just under 15 minutes, seems to last as long as James Cameron’s film."

Anna Picard

The Independent On Sunday - 5 August 2007

"There’s no connection between the five recent works on this superbly played disc, other than the British affiliations of all the composers involved - US-born Stephen Montague has surely been based here long enough now to qualify as part of the British new-music establishment. Three of the pieces involve electronics. In Michael Alcorn’s The Old Woman of Beare, they provide one layer in an amalgam that also involves a narrator reading a ninth-century Irish poem. In Gavin Bryars’ The Sinking of the Titanic (which the Smith Quartet play in a shortened version, made specially for them), the electronics add documentary detail to this still strangely affecting collage. And Tim Souster’s Hambledon Hill is a dialogue between the live quartet and its recorded and transformed image. If Souster’s piece is a reminder of a talented composer who died far too young, then Montague’s First Quartet is a memorial of another kind, written explicitly to honour two of his composer friends and driving itself to a ferocious, angry climax."

Andrew Clements

The Guardian - 3 August 2007



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