Out Now: Attacca Quartet's Of All Joys on Sony Classical Featuring Renaissance & Minimalist Works
Attacca Quartet's Of All Joys
Released November 5, 2021
The Grammy Award-winning, Brooklyn-based Attacca Quartet channel the joy of music and creativity and the excitement of being physically together again on their new album Of All Joys – out today on Sony Classical. The album features their original take on great works from both the Minimalist movement and the Renaissance era and is now available worldwide – listen here.
Of All Joys begins and ends in the modern era with two seminal pieces by Arvo Pärt – Summa and Fratres; while Philip Glass’ String Quartet No. 3 “Mishima,” excerpted from his score for Paul Schrader’s 1985 film Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters about the influential Japanese author Yukio Mishima, provides the central anchor to the album. The quartet was drawn to how Glass created musical movements that resonated within the thematic structure of the film, yet that also reached outside and into the kind of deep soul-searching that Of All Joys asks of its listeners.The quartet’s selection of Renaisannce works by John Bennet, Orlando Gibbons, John Dowland, Jacobus Clemens Non Papa, Luca Marenzio and Gregorio Allegri explores the lineage of harmonic and rhythmic clarity and profound spirituality shared with the Minimalist works.
Of All Joys is a project that began with the group - Amy Schroeder [violinist], Domenic Salerni [violinist], Nathan Schram [violist], and Andrew Yee [cellist] – nominating their favorite pieces from both the Minimalist movement and Renaissance era, and considering how modern works resonate with what came before. The works chosen are unique in their harmonic structures as well as their instrumentation, and while some are vocal works and some are for strings, none were actually originally written specifically for string quartet. “We just want to play music we love, whether it’s written for our medium or not,” says Schroeder.
Such juxtapositions aid one of the quartet’s key beliefs – that music is music. “We truly believe in the beauty and importance of music from all eras,” says Schroeder. “Lineage is a beautiful thing in and of itself, and being able to get a glimpse into life and art of the past is a unique privilege.”
This translates to a rich sense of reverence for each of the works featured, but a freshness too. And, above all, respect and admiration, and love for the art. “In many ways this album expresses one of the biggest reasons one would choose to play in a string quartet,” says Schroeder. “The beautiful organ-like chords and the purity of the harmony in these pieces is extremely satisfying and even when ‘sad’ in nature, they are a true joy to play.”
“There was a feeling that we were recording music we had been deprived of – and we hadn’t been so moved by music we had to stop and weep between takes. Hopefully we captured the joy of being able to soak all that in,” says Yee of Of All Joys, and how isolation affected the quartet.
“It is about the joy of being together and making something that is more beautiful that you can make yourself,” says Salerni.
Transmitting all of this through music is not easy, yet Of All Joys is possessed of a rare depth and solemnity. Vitality too. For the joy to be found in communion can be fleeting; Of All Joys suggests we cherish it when we can.
OF ALL JOYS TRACKLIST
ARVO PÄRT *1935
1 Summa 5:44
LUCA MARENZIO c.1553–1599
2 Solo e pensoso 5:01
JOHN DOWLAND 1563–1626
3 Flow My Tears (Lachrimae) 3:55
from the Second Booke of Songs or Ayres (1600)
ORLANDO GIBBONS 1583–1625
4 Fantasia a 6 in D minor 3:45
PHILIP GLASS *1937
String Quartet No. 3 “Mishima”
5 I 1957: Award Montage 4:11
6 II November 25: Ishigaya 1:21
7 III 1934: Grandmother and Kimitake 4:12
8 IV 1962: Body Building 1:41
9 V Blood Oath 3:16
10 VI Mishima / Closing 2:57
GREGORIO ALLEGRI 1582–1652
11 Miserere 8:00
JOHN BENNET c.1575–c.1615
12 Weep, O Mine Eyes 2:53
JACOBUS CLEMENS NON PAPA c.1510–c.1555
13 Ego flos campi a 7 4:38
14 Fratres 11:32
Amy Schroeder violin
Domenic Salerni violin
Nathan Schram viola
Andrew Yee cello
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ABOUT ATTACCA QUARTET
Formed in 2003, Attacca Quartet present a new paradigm for string quartets in the 21st Century. The New York string collective— Amy Schroeder [violinist], Domenic Salerni [violinist], Nathan Schram [violist], and Andrew Yee [cellist]—have performed on six acclaimed albums, including Caroline Shaw: Orange. For the latter, they garnered the 2020 GRAMMY® Award in the category of “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.” Receiving widespread critical acclaim from New York Times, Noisey, and more, The Nation notably praised how the Attacca Quartet “lives in the present aesthetically, without rejecting the virtues of the musical past.” Not to mention, they’ve performed at Carnegie Hall Neighborhood Concerts, New York Philharmonic’s Nightcap Series, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and at Lincoln Center White Lights Festival and Miller Theatre with Caroline Shaw. Residencies include stints as Julliard’s Graduate Resident String Quartet and Quartet in Residence at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Plus, they’ve touched down for performances on four continents. In addition, the musicians of the quartet have collaborated with acclaimed artists such as Björk and James Blake and the quartet even appears in the popular video game Red Dead Redemption 2. They were also featured on the soundtrack for Amazon’s Mozart in the Jungle (2016). With 2021’s REAL LIFE, they add a classic twist to a modern sound, defying genres and eras all at once.