Danish String Quartet Makes ECM Records Debut Disc; Worldwide Digital Release April 15 US CD Release May 6

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Danish String Quartet
Makes ECM Records Debut Disc

Worldwide Digital Release April 15
US CD Release May 6

April 14, 2016

NEW YORK – The critically-acclaimed Danish String Quartet marks their recording debut on the ECM Records label with a disc featuring works by English and Scandinavian contemporary composers Thomas Adès, Per Nørgård, and Hans Abrahamsen.  The young ensemble is already renowned globally for their outstanding level of musical refinement and lush interpretations of classical, contemporary, and folk traditions.  About their predilection for this vein of repertoire, the Quartet’s violist Asbjørn Nørgaard remarks, “What drew us to the string quartets by Per Nørgård, Hans Abrahamsen and Thomas Adès was at first the instantaneous quality of the music: these quartets, each one very different from the others, felt like fountains of ideas, flowing over with honest, direct music, written without any hint of fear and insecurity.   From Nørgård’s soft-spoken poetry, over Abrahamsen’s primal, assertive voice to Adès’s hyper-controlled expressionism, they usually brought down the house.  Only later did we realize that Nørgård, Abrahamsen and Adés all were in their early twenties when they wrote these quartets, just like we were performing them.  Now, maybe slightly more contemplative than earlier, we claim that these three quartets are masterworks and that they deserve to be recorded next to each other.  We are so fortunate that our producer, Manfred Eicher, understood and mirrored our passion for these fascinating quartets.”

With their technical and interpretive talents matched by an infectious joy for music-making and “rampaging energy,” (Alex Ross, The New Yorker) the Danish String Quartet gave concerts selected by the New York Times as highlights of the years 2012 and 2015.  The group of musical friends are in demand worldwide by concert and festival presenters alike for their adventurous, thoughtful programming.  While giving skilled and profound performances of the classical masters, the Quartet also demonstrates a passion for contemporary composers.  The composers featured on this disc have all received distinctive accolades within the past year: Thomas Adès was elected to the Board of Directors of the European Academy of Music Theater, Per Nørgård is the 2016 recipient of the €250,000 Siemens Prize, and Hans Abrahamsen is the 2016 recipient of the $100,000 Grawemeyer Award for Composition.

In February, the Quartet received the Borletti Buitoni Trust Award worth £30,000, which supports outstanding young musicians with creative initiative in their international endeavors.  Their compelling talent secured them a three-year appointment in Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s CMS Two Program beginning in the 2013-14 season. The Quartet was also named a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist for 2013-15.  In November 2014 the Quartet released their recording of Danish folk songs, Wood Works, on the Dacapo label, which was selected by NPR as one of the best classical albums of the year.  In 2009 the Danish String Quartet won First Prize in the 11th London International String Quartet Competition, now called the Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition, as well as four additional prizes from the same jury.  Now recognized as the premiere quartet in Scandinavia, they sponsor their own festival each October in their home of Copenhagen.  The three Danes, Mr. Øland, Mr. Sørensen and Mr. Nørgaard, met as children and officially formed a string quartet as teenagers.  The Norwegian Mr. Sjölin joined the ensemble in 2008 and they have since captivated audiences across the globe through live and recorded performance.  They state, “Playing string quartets is our job, and yes it is hard work, but we mostly do it for pleasure, like we always did.”

Frederik Øland (Violin)
Rune Tonsgaard Sørensen (Violin)
Asbjørn Nørgaard (Viola)
Fredrik Schøyen Sjölin (Cello)

“What they do know is how to be an exceptional quartet, whatever repertory they play.”
-Anthony Tommasini, The New York Times

“They bring a freshness and energy plus a level of sheer accomplishment that I don’t ever remember hearing in these works.”
-David Fanning, Gramophone

“The musicians, acutely attuned to one another, didn’t appear to be on autopilot for even a millisecond, with every nuance, phrase and gesture beautifully wrought.”
-Vivien Schweitzer, The New York Times

“They could be grounded in their tone or mystical. They allowed time to stand still, and they could assume the pose of excitingly aggressive rockers. They did it all.”
-Mark Swed, The Los Angeles Times

Arcadiana for string quartet, Op. 12 – Thomas Adès
1. I. Venezia notturna
2. II. Das klinget so herrlich, das klinget so schön
3. III. Auf dem Wasser zu singen
4. IV. Et…(tango mortale)
5. V. L’Embarquement
6. VI. O Albion
7. VII. Lethe

String Quartet No. 1 – Quartetto Breve – Per Nørgård
8. Lento, pocco rubato
9. Allegro risoluto

String Quartet No. 1, ‘10 Preludes for String Quartet’ – Hans Abrahamsen
10. 1
11. 2
12. 3
13. 4
14. 5
15. 6
16. 7
17. 8
18. 9
19. 10

Total running time: 46:57

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