Michael Nyman on Quartet No.5 & No.4
String Quartet No. 5 (2011) is the first of my quartets not only to have a subtitle but, more importantly, not to be based on pre-existing musical material.
The subtitle ‘Let’s not make a song and dance out of this’ refers to the fact that the piece is made up of movements that could either be considered as songs or dances or not! The first movement may be a dance, the second may be a song, the third a song, the fourth a dance - maybe a tango, the fifth a dance that might be dangerous to dance to, while the sixth movement refers back to both the second and first movements. It was written for The Smith Quartet in 2011 and receives its premier recording on this CD.
String Quartet No. 4 was composed in the winter of 1994/5 and, like my first three quartets, is based on pre-existing material. In 1993 I was commissioned by Yohji Yamamoto to write a solo violin work for his autumn fashion show in Paris. The work I composed for Yohji, Yamamoto Perpetuo, is a substantial, virtuosic concert piece in its own right and was written for the Camilli Quartet who gave the first London performance at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, on 21 April 1995. It is dedicated to the memory of Alan Bush who had a powerful influence on my musical and political world at the Royal Academy of Music between 1961 and 1964, and who died on 31 October 1995.
The Smith Quartet
Ian Humphries – violin
Risk Koster – violin
Nic Pendlebury – viola
Deirdre Cooper - cello