PETER GREGSON RELEASES HIS NEW STUDIO ALBUM: QUARTETS THREE AND FOUR
Peter Gregson, renowned composer, cellist and Deutsche Grammophon recording artist, is set to present his sixth studio album, Quartets: Three and Four. The album is a follow-up from his 2016/2017 EPs Quartets: One and Quartets: Two, completing the conceptual cycle the composer set out for himself of creating a “quartet of quartets”.
11 NOVEMBER 2022 (TORONTO, ON) – Peter Gregson's new album, Quartets: Three and Four is out now via Deutsche Grammophon/Universal Music Canada. It is Gregson’s sixth studio album and follows on from his 2016/2017 EPs Quartets: One and Quartets: Two, completing the conceptual cycle the composer set out for himself of creating a “quartet of quartets”. Quartets: Three and Four is available digitally in combination with the release of a deluxe album, which contains all four quartets on CD and vinyl.
The first two EPs, recorded at AIR Studios in London, saw Peter Gregson move from an entirely acoustic body of work in Quartets: One, to adding synthesisers as an extra instrumental layer on Quartets: Two. The new album, which encompasses the final two quartets, sees Gregson take his ideas on sound and recording further with the first half of the album - Quartets: Three - ingraining even more electronic effects to create rich sonic textures, and the latter half - Quartets: Four - returning to an all-acoustic set-up and his original classical soundworld. Quartets: Three and Four were recorded at Paul Epworth’s The Church Studio and Abbey Road Studio 3 respectively.
"Even" from Quartets: Three is the focus piece of the album. With trademark expressive fluidity and meticulous precision, the sweeping strings mesh together creating one surging, harmonious melody. Speaking about the piece, Peter Gregson explains, “Even is a meditation around a simple chord sequence which develops into an introverted, patient melody. Although the melodic lines are interweaving, this piece is about feeling the quartet as one voice, rather than four instruments playing together.”
“I have been planning this “quartet of quartets” since 2016; I had been back-to-back on commissioned projects and wanted to carve out some space to write music for myself with no brief, no deadline, no rules. It was also important to me that I wasn’t writing for myself, so as to avoid any possible shorthand laziness. The String Quartet is a mighty instrument in itself, an incredible sound and deliciously expressive medium for which to write with an unparalleled repertoire going back hundreds of years.
With this new music in Quartets: Three, I wanted to explore the idea of ‘natural electronics’, a breathing sonic landscape where the natural warmth of the string quartet and the potentially cold world of the electronics world can co-exist. The electronics I chose for this body of work, the reverbs, delays, harmonizers, synthesisers, tapes, were all physically present and being recorded just as carefully as the quartet themselves, all being committed to tape at the same time. None of this music was recorded with a ‘click track’, so the musicians were hearing the electronics in their headphones and responding to the space we were creating, further pushing the sonics into new territory.
The music in Quartets: Four was written for the Carducci Quartet and with it, I wanted to really develop my understanding of pure quartet writing: both the exploration of the tributary lines, (individual violin, violin, viola, cello voices), and as one unified voice (the quartet). The title Three Parallels refers ultimately to the construction of the music where, at any given point, there are three voices in the quartet working together and one exploring its own path, only for that rogue voice to be joined by another voice spinning off on its own to the next phrase. The music is outwardly melodic and tonal, but not to be confused with comfortable. There are subtle details inside the quartet, ripples in the water, which develop and mutate over the three movements. Music on a page is nothing without performers to bring it to life, and I am indebted to the Carducci Quartet, Andrew Neubauer, and Penny Wright for enabling this work to exist.”
(Peter Gregson, September 2022)
ABOUT PETER GREGSON:
Peter Gregson (b.1987) is a composer, cellist, and Deutsche Grammophon recording artist. His music is regularly sought out by the most exciting choreographers and dance companies in the world, including Theaterhaus Stuttgart / Gauthier Dance, Joffrey Ballet, PA Ballet, Dutch National Ballet, and Ballet BC. His acclaimed album Bach Recomposed has recently been choreographed by Kristian Lever at Hamburg’s Staatsoper. Amongst Gregson’s film credits are Roger Michell’s ‘Blackbird’ (starring Kate Winslet and Susan Sarandon) and the late Alan Rickman’s ‘A Little Chaos’ as well as the soundtrack for the popular video game ‘Boundless’. Gregson’s music has also earned widespread recognition through the highly popular TV series ‘Bridgerton’ (Netflix) and ‘The New Pope’ by Paolo Sorrentino (HBO).
As a cellist, he has performed all around the world, from The Royal Albert Hall in London to a jazz club in Beijing; from the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg to Capitol Studios in Hollywood, which was filmed and released in January 2021. He is a prolific artist, with a body of work that can range from the atmospheric ‘Somnia’ which was commissioned for ‘World Sleep Day’, to a moody remix of Moby’s track ‘Extreme Ways’. Undoubtedly, it was Gregson’s fifth studio album ‘Patina’ which really cemented his name as one of the most innovative composers today. The highly acclaimed release featured an astonishing array of analogue electronic instruments, a string ensemble and his unique solo cello brought together to explore the theme of absence. ‘Patina’ was followed by ‘Patina (Alternative Versions)’ EP which continued to explore the depth and complexity of the album through poignant collaborations and reworks. His latest EP ‘Piano Book’, sees Gregson rework compositions from previous albums with the help of pianist Kindt (from the Slow Show band) who stripped down the music into intimate pieces for solo piano.
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