Two-time GRAMMY-award winning Attacca Quartet are recognised and acclaimed as one of the most versatile and outstanding ensembles of the moment — a true quartet for modern times. Gliding through traditional classical repertoire through to electronic, video game music and contemporary collaborations, they are one of the world’s most innovative and respected ensembles.
The ensemble’s three albums reflect the modern string quartet’s many possibilities, and this wide-ranging programme brings together all the elements. Their first album, Real Life, exploded onto the scene with riotous electronic sounds created with producers outside the classical sphere. Of all Joys provided a complete contrast, with simple and heartfelt sounds from Renaissance composers alongside modern minimalists Phillip Glass and Arvo Pärt. Their collaboration with composer Caroline Shaw for the 2019 release Orange saw them win the 2020 GRAMMY Award for Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance, with their follow-up album Evergreen winning the 2023 award in the same category.
By turns gutsy and ethereal, “Valencia” explores sounds and textures that feel new, while remaining rooted in sensitivity to the techniques and history of the string quartet. Meanwhile, “Blueprint” offers a musical language which is almost timeless, composed of gesture as much as of sound. The sound and fury comes in the Flying Lotus suite, in which the quartet lets rip, bows digging and strings twanging. “Benkai’s Standing Death,” is based on the tale of a samurai who, according to legend, died standing up as he was pelted by arrows while defending his master. It unfolds gradually, pacing its narrative beautifully over a fourteen-minute span, filled with detail and subtlety. “Mishima,” which is drawn from music Glass wrote for a 1985 film soundtrack, brings a sombre mood. To send you away with a spring in your step, Gabriella Smith’s “Carrot Revolution” is playful and percussive with growls and squeaks forming a firm rhythmic groove.
Attacca Quartet is:
Amy Schroeder (she/her) — violin
Domenic Salerni (he/him) — violin
Nathan Schram (he/him) — viola
Andrew Yee (she/they) — cello
Caroline Shaw: Blueprint
Flying Lotus suite
Paul Wiancko: Benkei’s Standing Death
Philip Glass- String Quartet #3 “Mishima”
Caroline Shaw: Valencia
Gabriella Smith: Carrot Revolution
Co-promoted with Oxford Festival of the Arts.
Photos: David Goddard