©City Music Foundation

This is an archived event

Ligeti String Quartet

The Modern String Quartet

Christopher Jones, Patrick Dawkins violins Richard Jones viola Val Welbanks cello

Christian Mason: Movements from Tuvan Songbook
Ruth Crawford Seeger: String Quartet 1931
Béla Bartók: String Quartet no 5

Christian Mason’s Songbooks are inspired by traditional forms of overtone (or throat-singing) from around the world. Exploring the ways in which the acoustic properties of the string quartet emulate the human voice, they’re anything but theoretical but full of thrillingly direct and toe-tappingly exciting music.

The Seeger family were closely associated with the revival of the folk tradition in America but this quartet from 1931 pre-dates Ruth’s association with the movement. It’s a pathbreaking composition, composed in a modernist style of ‘dissonant counterpoint’, and was a major influence on subsequent US composers such as Elliott Carter.

Béla Bartók was a crucially important advocate and collector of folk music in his native Hungary and beyond, and its melodies, rhythms and harmonies were increasingly absorbed into his own compositional style. The fifth of his six string quartets references Bulgarian dance rhythms and peasant melodies as well as incorporating two movements in his mysteriously atmospheric ‘night music’ style.

Programme notes can be downloaded here.

A recording on the Nonclassical label of Christian Mason's Songbooks performed by the Ligeti Quartet can be purchased here as CD or download.

The Ligeti Quartet have been at the forefront of modern and contemporary music since their formation in 2010. They’ve established a reputation as one of the UK’s leading ensembles, breaking new ground through innovative programming and championing of today’s most exciting composers and artists.

“The Ligeti players deliver remarkably committed, focused performances, thrillingly responsive to the subtle fluctuations in tone and attack needed to bring this music alive” The Strad


The concert is expected to last approximately 75 min.


Tue 12 Oct 2021 8.00pm

Little Missenden Church

£25, £18, £10

Ligeti Quartet play Sivunittinni by Tanya Tagaq (2015)