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Bracing Change 2

Heath Quartet, Quatuor Bozzini, Piatti Quartet (NMC)

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

Bracing Change 2
Helen Grime: String Quartet No. 2*; Newland: difference is everywhere (altered)**;  Mark-Anthony Turnage: Contusion†
*Heath Quartet, **Quatuor Bozzini, †Piatti Quartet
NMC NMC D242   45:19 mins


In Sylvia Plath’s Contusion – written shortly before the poet’s suicide – the titular bruise is observed in the context of metaphors that detail irreversible emotional anguish. Mark-Anthony Turnage gives that torment musical expression, realised here by the Piatti Quartet. The 2014 work was a set-piece at the 2015 Wigmore Hall String Competition, where the Piattis won a special award for their interpretation – captured in this striking recording.

The pace changes with Paul Newland’s sparse and evocative work dominated by cluster chords. Quatuor Bozzini, who gave the 2019 premiere at Southampton’s Turner Sims (recorded here), present exemplary ensemble throughout this quietly powerful piece. Back in Wigmore Hall, the venue that commissioned and recorded Helen Grime’s String Quartet No. 2, the Heath Quartet interrupts confident descents with anxious tremolo; an idea that is later revisited through pizzicatos and glissandos. The final movement sees a complete break with what’s come before – a fitting way to finish this fine instalment of a worthwhile series.


Claire Jackson