THE STRING QUARTETS
IAN ANDERSON, STUDIO ALBUMS, 2017
The String Quartets is an album of classic Jethro Tull repertoire, imaginatively arranged by John O’Hara for the Carducci string quartet with the flute, guitar and vocals of songwriter and producer Ian Anderson.
STREAM THE ALBUM
“The results are really rather convincing” theartsdesk.com
“If you happen to be a fan of both prog rock and classical music, you’re in for one hell of a treat this month”
“This is a worthy endeavour” – Prog Magazine
“Each song is delightfully unique” – Pennyblack music
“The String Quartets will be an essential addition to any Tull fans collection. Ian Anderson’s imagination seems limitless, his compositions timeless” – myglobalmind.com
“Tull’s music has already been through the classical blender before of course, but this string quartet album brings a lively, jaunty presence to bear on a thoughtfully compiled set of songs” – Getreadytorock – Pete Fenestra
“Ian Anderson has continued to do just what made Jethro Tull such a profound player in the genre and continues to push the boundaries forward for prog in a way that is seamless and endlessly absorbing” – Photo groupie
“Sometimes these new arrangements are content to capture just the essence of the original recordings on their way to beautiful new reimagining, other times they remain true to the original band-centric deliveries” – Dancing about Architecture
“Now, this is interesting. Rock meets classics in a unique fusion of genres that works. The result is a slightly quirky, but excellent reworking of a dozen Tull tracks, ranging from In The Past (Living In The Past), Loco (Locomotive Breath) and Aquafugue (Aqualung) to Bungle (Bungle In The Jungle) and Songs And Horses (Songs From the Wood/Heavy Horses)” – Amp
“What it does do is shed new light on some old favourites, lopping off their harder edges, and reframing them in a more delicate setting” –
THE CARDUCCI QUARTET
Matthew Denton – Violin
Michelle Fleming – Violin
Eoin Schmidt-Martin – Viola
Emma Denton – Cello
Ian Anderson – Flute, acoustic guitar, mandolin and vocals.
John O’Hara – Piano and celeste
Produced by Ian Anderson for Calliandra Records
The Carducci Quartet
Winners of many international competitions and regularly appearing at Classical Music Festivals throughout the world. Highly celebrated for their interpretation of contemporary repertoire, the Carducci Quartet is regularly invited to perform new works and recitals.
The String Quartet Project
Ian and John O’Hara – keyboard player with Tull and Ian Anderson – had discussed for some time the prospect of a dedicated string quartet album specially conceived and orchestrated to celebrate some of the best-known repertoire of Jethro Tull in a new and very different setting.
They had first heard of the Carducci Quartet through violinist Matthew’s brother Chris, also a musician. After seeing the quartet in concert in London at LSO St Luke’s, Ian invited them to take part in the recording of this project.
Ian and John then pored over the entire Tull catalogue and decided on this selection of songs which includes two O’Hara-arranged Tull pieces already performed with quartets in various concerts over the years.
With judicious additions of flute, acoustic guitar and mandolin along with a few vocal sections, this album offers Tull fans the opportunity to enjoy familiar melodies and songs within the styling and traditions of Classical Music.
Two violins, viola and cello make up that perfect combination of musical instruments known as a string quartet. Composers such as Beethoven, Bartók and Britten have written for it, and it felt like an exciting prospect to hear Anderson’s music in this way.
Since the 1980s I have been composing and producing music for television and the stage, so this project was an opportunity to combine my experiences with Ian’s music. Over the years I have scored the works of Jethro Tull for larger orchestral forces, but this was a chance to distil the material and hear it self-contained within the quartet format.
It was an honour to work with such an accomplished ensemble as the Carducci Quartet: their joy and enthusiasm can be heard throughout. This has been a project of love. I created each new arrangement over a period of several months, always trying to offer something new and exciting to the listeners, some of whom will know this material very well. Expect a few surprises!
John O’Hara and I have worked on various orchestrations and performed many orchestral concerts in several countries over the last fifteen years.
A couple of years ago, I came up with the idea of recording a dedicated SQ album in a contemporary but “Classical” setting together with my own brief appearances. Having discussed this with John at various points during tours, we started in earnest by jointly choosing some potential tracks to work on.
In order to differentiate between the titles of the original tracks and these reworked arrangements, I decided to give them rather cryptic names for these versions. The publishing and record royalty payments get very complicated when the same song title applies to different albums, performers and writers. Better, therefore, to avoid confusion with these pseudonyms. Although you are probably confused now, too. Sorry about that.
It has really been a lot of fun to work on this project. The Carducci Quartet provided a spirited and committed performance, without which all would have been futile. And, I only had to pay for lunch once as they brought sandwiches. Bless.
Many thanks to Susan Macleod at Worcester Cathedral for making it happen there and to Crispin Truman and his crew at the Churches Conservation Trust for the access to St Kenelm’s at Sapperton. Finally, many thanks and appreciation for JO’s hard work and dedication to detail in bringing this project to fruition.
Why the churches? There is something of a spiritual and uplifting quality in the ambience of the Christian church. Can’t quite put my finger on it (yet) but the musical liturgy of the church does something for me. Strangely, I feel quite at home in our parish churches and grand cathedrals these days.
Ian Anderson, 2017.
“Perfect for lazy, long sunny afternoons, crisp winter nights, weddings and funerals. Perfect also after a night of wild, abandoned sex or to celebrate the win of your favourite football team. Essentially, anytime music for sophisticated lovers of Classic Rock too afraid to wear their Tull T-shirt at the village barbecue” – Ian Anderson