Songbooks, Vol. 1

A 10 track alternative album (54m 21s) — released October 9th 2020 on nonclassical

Born out of a long-standing collaboration between Ligeti Quartet and composer Christian Mason, Songbooks explores the way in which the acoustic properties of the string quartet emulate the human voice through Mason's use of extended techniques and unique sound-worlds. The result is an album of thrillingly direct and toe-tappingly exciting music which is profoundly influenced by the traditional songs of Tuva and Sardinia.

"Seeing the Tenores sing spontaneously at 2am in the main square of Sant'Anna Arresi after we had shared a concert is forever etched in our memories. Songbooks has seen us 'grow' as a quartet, and now represents our ethos – fitting for our debut album in our 10th year together!" – Ligeti Quartet

Ligeti Quartet has established a reputation as one of the UK's leading ensembles, breaking new ground through innovative programming, supporting emerging composers and taking new music to diverse audiences. 2020 marks 10 years since their formation, and this is their debut album on the nonclassical label.

British composer Christian Mason is enjoying a prolific career with an array of prestigious commissions. Winner of the Ernst von Siemens Musikstiftung Composer Prize in 2015, recent premieres have included works for Ensemble Recherche (documented on his upcoming CD with the group, Zwischen den Sternen, released on Winter & Winter in October 2020), Arditti Quartet, Vienna Philharmonic and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group.

Two further Songbooks are planned, the first based on the Inuit Katajjaq singing of Northern Canada and the second on Umngqokolo singing from the Xhosa tradition in South Africa. The Tuvan and Sardinian practices explored on this first album are both traditionally performed by men and the Inuit and Xhosa practices by women.

In a world crowded with excellent young string quartets, the Ligeti Quartet have more than superlative technique: they have a distinctive identity as promoters of late-20th century and new writing. They are currently collaborating with leading young British composers Christian Mason, Anna Meredith and Kate Whitley, and wherever composers want to take the string quartet in the 21st century, I am sure the Ligeti Quartet will be there with them. - Caroline Potter I CARE IF YOU LISTEN

Christian Mason’s Songbook was a brilliant recreation of the impassioned close-harmony tradition of Sardinia, played with pungent intensity by the quartet. - Ivan Hewett The Telegraph

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