The Four Quarters

Our debut album, The Four Quarters, is out now on Orchid Classics!

Using Thomas Adès’ The Four Quarters as a framework – and featuring several arrangements by the ensemble – this album explores composers’ depictions of night and day and all the moments in between; from the melodious dawn chorus of Cassandra Miller’s Warblework, via Bartok’s earthly and touching portrayal of An Evening in the Village to Kate Bush’s ethereal And Dream Of Sheep.

The framework for the album is Thomas Ades’ ‘The Four Quarters’, a piece we’ve worked on extensively with the composer himself. Written in 2010, the work describes the twenty-four hour-period in which the earth completes its rotation on its own axis – not, conventionally speaking, ‘a day’, but an expanse of time. Full of exquisitely imagined textures, beguiling harmonies, rhythmic games and extremes in both pitch and emotion, this seminal work is a giant of the string quartet repertoire. Watch our video of ‘Days’ from The Four Quarters below.

Between Ades movements, we explore a rich mix of music that uses the passing of day as its inspiration. An earthly ground bass by Purcell meets the ethereal ‘And Dream of Sheep’ by Kate Bush, whilst the melodious dawn chorus of Cassandra Miller’s ‘Warblework’ is answered by chirping crickets on the Hungarian plains of Bartok’s ‘An Evening in the Village’. Two other living composers with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working closely, Aaron Parker and William Marsey, also form an integral part of the disc. The recording also includes more beautiful music from Florence Price, Robert Schumann, Ivor Gurney and a traditional folk song. Watch our very own William Newell’s arrangement of Kate Bush’s And Dream Of Sleep below.

The album reached No. 1 on Amazon’s Hot New Releases Classical Charts and received 4.5 stars from Norman Lebrecht at The Critic and our videos have been shared widely, including by Gramophone Magazine, Classic FM and The Strad.

The full track list can be found at Orchid Classics and is available to listen on all platforms here!

Audio recording, production and post-production: Aaron Holloway-Nahum (Coviello Productions)

Video footage and editing: Richard Herring & Aaron Holloway-Nahum (studio footage)

This album has been made possible thanks to generous support from a number of trusts and individuals to whom the quartet are extremely grateful, in particular, the Carne Trust, the RVW Trust, and Carol Nixon.