Each month we ask a musician to share a piece they love and tell us why
String Quartet No. 2 by Eleanor Alberga
I discovered this piece a few months ago during lockdown and whilst it reminded me how much I was seriously missing the energy and excitement of making music with others, it inspired my creativity and made me revel in the challenge of playing this work some day. The wonderful sense of drama that Alberga creates here through her textural, timbral and dynamic exploration displays the whole gamut of expressive string quartet writing which I find incredibly thrilling!
I think this quartet offers a masterclass in both achieving an exciting sense of rhythmic drive, honed from her admiration for Bartok, Caribbean influence and previous training as a composer for modern dance, and also in working with commanding economy of material. It is in a concise, single movement but the traditional four movement structure can still be distinguished within it. Alberga develops all the melodic, rhythmic and harmonic material for the piece out of the first few bars and in doing so experiments with syncopation, cross-rhythms, harmonic tension and release, counterpoint, repetition and so on. I also love how she achieves so many contrasts of character and mood without ever disturbing the flow of the piece.
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Anna Galloway is a cellist from London, based in Manchester. She graduated from the University of Manchester with a degree in Music in 2019, and is now in her final year of a Masters degree in Cello Performance at the Royal Northern College of Music studying with Nicholas Trygstad. She is an active and committed chamber musician, receiving regular coaching from professional musicians such as Magnus Johnston and Petr Prause, and performing a range of music genres for concerts, corporate events and other functions in and around Manchester with her various chamber ensembles. Anna also particularly enjoys orchestral performance, recording and teaching young children.