The classic Balanescu Quartet recordings of Michael Nyman’s String Quartets 1-3 Presented in a 6 panel digipack with an accompanying 12 page booklet containing extensive notes written by Michael Nyman “The three string quartets were not conceived as a series, as they owe their origins to three very different sets of circumstances, however, re-viewing these three quartets together for the Argo/Decca recording, revealed a consistency of compositional approach which quite unwittingly unifies them and sets them distinctively apart from the majority of my other compositions.
Each quartet is built around the principle of conflict - not necessarily conflict between the instruments, as is the traditional view of the quartet medium, but more interestingly (since it was not a conscious approach) conflict [or maybe dialogue!] between sets of musical material which appear to be at odds with each other: between the pre-formed and the freely-composed. 'String Quartet No. 1', for instance, the conflict is between two 'found' musical objects, separated both by their cultural origins and by a distance of around 300 years; in 'String Quartet No,2' the apparent contradiction is between strictly-observed South Indian rhythmic systems and a doggedly European sensibility; while 'String Quartet No. 3' bridges the gap between a choral work written in the summer of 1989 and its transformation into a string quartet, partly through a visitation by a number of Romanian folk music fragments. Michael Nyman 2012