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Four contemporary Classical pieces by Andrew Keeling performed by The Bingham String Quartet, The Contact Ensemble, Steve Bingham (No-Man) and The Valen Trio respectively.
The string quartet Present is a substantial work which shares the grandeur of the great chamber works of Beethoven and Schubert, but does not directly mimic their style. The music was inspired by Alison Prince's poem 'All This Time'. The quartet has a questioning, restless quality, but also a sense that divine presence is close by, even if often revealed in unlikely ways. The quartet is in four movements.
The atmospheric 'Beacon Hill' recalls a walk made by the composer to the summit of the wooded hill which rises above the Lake District town of Penrith. The music unfolds like a slow, funereal sarabande over a ground-bass, but gradually rises to an ecstatic climax. At this point, the melancholy mood abruptly returns.
Perhaps the most unusual and innovative work on the disc is 'You Cut the String' written for Steve Bingham's unique five-string electric violin and sound-loops. Commissioned by and dedicated to Steve Bingham, the music is made up from eight multi-tracked sound-loops which are, one by one, hypnotically superimposed to create what the composer calls, "A gradually accumulating rhythmic mobile."
'Unquiet Earth' is scored for piano, violin and cello and is a musical response to the last paragraph of Emily Bronte's novel 'Wuthering Heights'.
The work has two almost improvisatory movements. A fragmentary slow introduction leads to a quicker, boisterous section as the movement unwinds into tender introspection. The second movement injects new rhythmic energy in the form of a restless, awkward jig, until a slow, serene lament emerges, which dissolves into deep meditation.
"This should establish Andrew Keeling without question as a leading figure in the classical music of our time." - Alison Prince
1. String Quartet Present (2006) performed by The Bingham String Quartet
2. Beacon Hill for ensemble (2009-10) performed by The Contact Ensemble
3. You Cut the String for electric violin/loops (2007) performed by Steve Bingham
4. Piano Trio Unquiet Earth (2005-06) performed by The Valen Trio