Davies notes an interesting combination of natural and man-made influences on the composition of this work; the quartet was written during a particular period of isolation when Davies spent much time in the greenery near her home. The sounds of the surrounding birdsong made a strong impression on her, as well as the Hubble Deep Field images which capture celestial images and the movement of time.
The first performance of the Nightingales: Ultra-Deep Field was given by Arditti Quartet at the Philharmonie, Berlin in October 2020, with future performances planned for Southbank Centre, London. The Berlin performance is still available to view on the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall.
The 17-minute work will be programmed in Darmstadt at the concert ‘Fletch’ alongside works by Rebecca Saunders, Karola Obermüller, Milica Djordjević, and Hilda Paredes. The concert will be livestreamed by the festival.
Nightingales: Ultra-Deep Field was commissioned by the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker, Southbank Centre, London, and Arditti Quartet, with the support of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation.