Bringing The World Home To You

© 2022 WUNC North Carolina Public Radio
120 Friday Center Dr
Chapel Hill, NC 27517
919.445.9150 | 800.962.9862
91.5 Chapel Hill 88.9 Manteo 90.9 Rocky Mount 91.1 Welcome 91.9 Fayetteville 90.5 Buxton 94.1 Lumberton 99.9 Southern Pines
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Attacca Quartet / Caroline Shaw, 'First Essay (Nimrod)'

Have you ever fallen through a musical trap door? This piece contains a few of them, along with other compositional entanglements, according to its composer, the Pulitzer-winning Caroline Shaw. Part of her inspiration, she says in the notes to her forthcoming album of string quartet music, is the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, where God scattered the peoples and confused their languages.

Here, Shaw's musical language begins with a sprightly tune, but soon splits off into "tumbling fragments and unexpected repetitive tunnels." No matter. While this eight-minute funhouse might be tricky to play for the cunning Attacca Quartet (this is the band's second Shaw album), it's easy on the ears. As you move through the maze, look out for lyrical solos, feverous cresting waves, moments of shimmering repose and perhaps a nod to Beethoven. At the end, we find a raw, slippery chord that slides through one more trap door.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Tags

Tom Huizenga is a producer for NPR Music. He contributes a wide range of stories about classical music to NPR's news programs and is the classical music reviewer for All Things Considered. He appears regularly on NPR Music podcasts and founded NPR's classical music blog Deceptive Cadence in 2010.
More Stories