The debut recording of String Quartet No. 2 by Helen Grime is now available on the NMC label. The piece, which was composed between 2020 and 2021, is performed by the Heath Quartet and appears on the album ‘Bracing Change 2’ alongside quartets by Mark-Anthony Turnage and Paul Newland.
The quartet was shaped by the global and personal events taking place during the period of its composed; as the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic became apparent across Europe and the composer was newly pregnant. As lockdown began, Grime recalls that ‘I felt an urgency when composing and a sense of purpose and focus that was now missing from so many other areas of life’; something perhaps reflected in the piece’s opening movements. The work’s finale – composed after the birth of her son – is noticeably different in character, freer and conveying a sense of release.
Helen Grime’s String Quartet No. 2 was commissioned by Wigmore Hall, with the generous support of Nicholas and Judith Goodison and The Radcliffe Trust; and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. The world premiere was given by the Flux Quartet at the 2021 Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival. The Heath Quartet will present the European Premiere of the piece during the 23/24 season at the Wigmore Hall, London.
A profile of Helen Grime and survey of her recordings by Pwyll Ap Siôn will be featured in the May 2023 issue of Gramophone Magazine.