Piece of the month

Each month we ask a musician to share a piece they love and tell us why

Mabon Jones
Orange from Caroline Shaw's Orange album
Mabon Jones

What piece have you chosen?

Caroline Shaw: Plan and Elevation

Why is it special for you?

This is one of the few pieces of classical music that I’ve fallen in love with purely through listening to a recording of it rather than hearing it in a concert or playing it myself, although I do hope to one-day experience a live performance of this piece or even have the opportunity to perform it myself. From a listener’s perspective it has moments of textural and harmonic beauty accompanied by passages of weird and wonderful timbres, sparkling polyrhythms and complete chaos. From a violinist’s perspective it sounds like an absolute joy to play, which really comes across from the Attacca Quartet’s fantastic recording of this work.

What should we listen out for?

This piece treads the line between avant-garde composition and familiar, homelier and more traditional musical language exceptionally well in my view. There are moments in the music that I feel, had they been executed slightly differently, could have sounded cheesy or clichéd. The elegance and ingenuity of the writing, however, results in these moments being some of the most meaningful and touching passages in the piece. I feel simultaneously comfortable and musically invigorated when I listen to this piece. The influence of Ravel can clearly be heard in many aspect of the piece, listen out for quotes from his String Quartet in F major as well as samples from some of Mozart’s work.

Share this article 

Mabon Jones headshot

Mabon Jones

I am a Welsh violinist based in Manchester with a wealth of experience playing in chamber groups, orchestras and as a soloist. After studying music at the University of Manchester I am now studying for a master’s degree under Leland Chen at the Royal Northern College of Music. Living in Manchester has given me the opportunity to play, record and perform with a wide range of ensembles in a variety of musical styles and traditions including contemporary classical, jazz, folk and klezmer. As well as playing the violin, I spend much of my time giving violin lessons to people of all ages.

Related Blog Posts

Reuben Rowlands

This song was introduced to me by my music teacher in Ysgol Tryfan, my secondary school. I was a member

Still from Up-Close by Michel Van Der Aa

Fraz Ireland

What piece have you chosen? Up-close by Michel van der Aa   Why is it special for you? I first


Enjoying the blog?

Get every article first with email notifications

  • Piece of the Month straight to inbox
  • New podcast every month
  • Concert announcements
  • Exclusive footage
  • Early access and exclusive discounts

This website uses cookies (mmm) for basic website functionality, shopping cart features, and tracking anonymised data about your use. By using the site you agree to the use of cookies. Learn more →