In April, the quartet with pianist John Tilbury performed Morton Feldman’s epic late work, Piano and String Quartet in the first concert of the Principal Sound Festival at St. John’s Smith Square. Taking its name from an organ work by Morton Feldman, Principal Sound celebrated the music of one of the most individual and influential composers of the 20th century.
To be released later this summer, on Matchless Recordings, is the 3rd and final volume of all the works written for Piano and Strings by Feldman, recorded live at the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival in 2006. Featured works include Spring of Chosroes (violin and piano), The Viola in My Life (viola and piano) and Trio, the mesmerising work for violin, cello and piano. Recorded and produced by Sebastian Lexer, this volume will celebrate almost 10 extraordinary years of collaboration. We've included here the beautiful notes that John Tilbury wrote for the booklet.
“If any single piece epitomises the beauty and hypnotic power of Feldman's final works, it is Piano and String Quartet.”
Reviews from our performance at Principal Sound on April 1st
“Feldman’s feeling for proportion and weight was exquisitely displayed in the piece, but only because the performance was so beautifully judged…In their wonderful performance Feldman’s masterpiece took on a lovely vernal glow.”
Ivan Hewett, The Telegraph (5 star)
“…The Smiths and Tilbury are seasoned exponents of this style and made the performance magical…”
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times
“The pianist John Tilbury and the Smith Quartet interpreted 85 minutes of Morton Feldman’s ’slow music’ with silken beauty.”
Geoff Brown, The Times (4 star)
Also coming up…
The quartet are also looking forward to the release of Michael Nyman’s 4th and 5th quartets later this summer on The MN label. And this October at Kings Place, London, there will be another chance to hear Distil, the award winning work by Graham Fitkin, written for the quartet and percussionist Joby Burgess. This programme will also feature works by Arvo Pärt, Philip Glass and Michael Nyman.
In early 2017 the Smiths will continue its long established collaboration with Shobona Jeyasingh Dance on a UK tour of Material Men (premiered last Autumn at the QEH), music by Elena Kats-Churnin and sound designer Leafcutter John.
|IAN HUMPHRIES – VIOLIN
RICK KOSTER – VIOLIN
NIC PENDLEBURY – VIOLA
DEIRDRE COOPER – CELLO
“Listen, reflect, marvel.”
The Observer, February 2010
“In 2006, the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival focused on Morton Feldman, one of the few important composers of the second half of the 20th century whose music had not previously been featured at the festival. At the centre of this belated tribute was a survey of Feldmanʼs works for piano and strings, spread across several recitals, with pianist John Tilbury and the members of the Smith Quartet. They were extraordinary experiences.”
The Guardian, February 2010
“…the superb Smith Quartet…”
BBC Radio 3: Andrew McGregor’s CD review
“As versatile as the Kronos Quartet, and smoother than the Brodskys, The Smith Quartet have edged ahead of their competitors in contemporary chamber music…”
The Independent On Sunday
“How long before the Kronos is labelled the ‘American Smith Quartet’?… they are ahead of the curve at generating new repertoire and taking the experimental back-catalogue seriously…”
Classic FM Magazine