is a multi-format group born out of the Arcadia Festival held annually in the English countryside. The festival was founded in 2010 by composer Eleanor Alberga and her husband, violinist Thomas Bowes, and is curated by both of them. Just as at Arcadia, held each year in early October, a select bunch of brilliant and original instrumentalists have come together to make this recording in a spirit of freshness and fearlessness. All five of the performers featured on this release have outstanding careers in various fields. This recording of quartets by Eleanor Alberga is the group’s recording debut.
is a highly regarded mainstream British composer with commissions and premieres from the BBC Proms and The Royal Opera. Her work is noted for its emotional impact, depth of craft, and brilliant coloring and orchestration. Born and growing up in Jamaica, her cultural inheritance is wide, including performing with the Jamaican Folk Singers and as a dancer with an African Dance company. Coming to the UK initially on a scholarship to study piano and singing at the Royal Academy of Music, her compositional talents came to the fore while working in the contemporary dance world. She now boasts a rich catalog of works in all genres: her Opera based on an Isabel Allende story, ‘Letters of a Love Betrayed,’ which drew comparison with Debussy’s Pelléas and Berg’s Wozzeck; the string quartets heard on this album; a growing sequence of chamber music Nocturnes featuring horn and oboe; and orchestral music including two violin concertos and a rip-roaring adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs as well as her Last Night of the Proms opener Arise Athena. Her early piano music has a deep connection to her Jamaican heritage, and she has also written music for solo voice and for choir.