String Quartets Nos 1 & 2
Bedroom Community HVALUR42 28:42 mins
Having collaborated on several projects to date, Edmund Finnis and the Manchester Collective enjoy a synergy that shines through this short but exquisite mini-album comprising his first and second string quartets. Presented in reverse order, the Second was co-commissioned by the Collective and plunges if anything deeper into the intensely intimate, subtle world of the First, composed in 2018.
Finnis has spoken of his love of communicating through sound, and of his desire to create beauty. Both are wonderfully achieved here, in music that’s exceptionally refined but never rarefied thanks to a graininess that speaks to the physicality of touch and breath.
Both works explore worlds of colour as if illuminated from the inside through the push-pull of timbre, texture and shape; not so much moment by moment – though the lines are fluently crafted – but through the creation of a musical space that’s at once richly inward and expansive.
No. 2 has four movements while No. 1 ‘Aloysius’ has five, its penultimate movement inspired by Byrd’s hymn, ‘Christe, qui lux es et dies’. Here especially the echoes of consort music abound, the whole performed with captivating skill and a sense of searching co-adventure.