Quatuor Diotima will give the French premiere of Coult’s String Quartet on 8 February as part of Radio France’s Présences Festival.
Commissioned by the Hepner Foundation and premiered by the Arditti Quartet in 2018, this 12-minute work is characterised by the unusual tunings of half of the instruments – the 2nd violin has all its strings tuned down a semitone, and the viola has all its strings tuned down a tone. This greatly expands the number of different pitches available to be played as open strings – unlike the conventional tuning of a quartet, this combination contains 16 unique strings – and all the piece’s five movements are in some sense explorations of the distinctive timbre of open strings. It’s an ingenious work, perhaps Coult’s most compellingly original yet, with a fascinating mix of clarity and strangeness.
View a score of Tom Coult's String Quartet here
‘In his first (of many, let’s hope) string quartet, Coult made extensive use of open strings, creating new aural possibilities with fascinating results.’
The Observer (Fiona Maddocks), 3 June 2018