On April 2 Arditti Quartet give the UK premiere of Tansy Davies’ Nightingales: Ultra-Deep Field. Commissioned by the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker, the Southbank Centre, and the Arditti Quartet, with support from the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, it was premiered piece in Berlin in October 2020 and has been since performed at the 2021 Darmstädter Ferienkurse. Part of the SoundState and Purcell Sessions series, the piece will be performed in the Purcell Room at the Southbank Centre.

Nightingales: Ultra-Deep Field shows the eclectic range and imaginative depth of Davies’ influences. The piece draws on images of the early universe from the Hubble space telescope, and the song of the nightingale in the countryside of rural Kent, where Davies composed much of the 17-minute work in lockdown. Davies writes that the quarter “should embrace these two telescopic and lateral perspectives: the merging of deep time and song.”

Dances are woven throughout the piece’s five movements, including a tango-like section and a bluegrass-inspired finale. “Composing this work”, Davies’ writes, “felt like dancing through multi-dimensional fields of sound-space.”  It is amongst Davies’ most substantial chamber works to date.

Nightingales: Ultra-Deep Field appears alongside premieres from Betsy Jolas and Christian Mason. Details of the performance can be found here.