Ian Anderson, John O’Hara, and The Carducci Quartet are set to release Jethro Tull – The String Quartets (The End/BMG), a collection of 12 re-imagined Tull classics, on March 24, allowing Tull fans and classical music connoisseurs to enjoy the band’s vast catalog in a new way.
“Aquafugue (Aqualung),” for example, starts with the recognizable six-note theme before continuing to follow the rules of a fugue. A subject, counter subject, and an accompanying counterpoint all alternate between the tonic and dominant keys. “Loco (Locomotive Breath)” begins with a cello cadenza inspired by the writing of J.S. Bach, an influential composer in Jethro Tull history. Other Tull favorites round out the tracklist, such as “Farm, the Fourway (Farm on the Freeway),” which starts with a violin cadenza drawn from the recognizable harmonic progression of the well-known Crest of a Knave classic, and “In the Past (Living in the Past),” which opens with that song’s signature 5/4 riff.
Says Anderson, “I felt that there were some songs rather special to me which featured the string quartet, such as ‘A Christmas Song,’ ‘Reasons for Waiting,’ and ‘Wond’ring Aloud.’ These were my first experiences of working with a quartet. John [O’Hara] came up with a few suggestions of his own, which presented challenges. All had an intimacy and presence, which I looked forward to recapturing.”
MM update, January 27, 2017: My exclusive interview with Ian Anderson about The String Quartets will post here on HRAC on March 24, the album’s official release date.
About his approach to the orchestration, O’Hara explains, “There seemed little point in transcribing the band parts and distributing them to the players. I felt a responsibility to delve deeper and offer a new imagining of each piece. An orchestrator’s job is to arrange and compose a new version of an existing work. However, I also felt a responsibility to the Jethro Tull listeners who cherish this material and may not welcome a radical rendition of a beloved song. My ambition was to create a thought-provoking album that remains true to Ian’s compositions.”
Jethro Tull – The String Quartets will be available in the USA on March 24 via The End Records/BMG. A 2017 global tour will accompany the release. The album is now available for pre-order on Pledge Music.
12. Aquafugue (Aqualung)
About The Carducci Quartet
Winners of international competitions, including the Concert Artists Guild International Competition 2007 and Finland’s Kuhmo International Chamber Music Competition, this Anglo-Irish quartet has appeared at prestigious venues across the globe including the Wigmore Hall, London; National Concert Hall, Dublin; Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen; Carnegie Hall, New York; and Library of Congress and John F. Kennedy Center, Washington, DC. Festival appearances include Cheltenham Music Festival, Festival Messiaen au pays Meije, West Cork Chamber Music festival, Kuhmo Festival and the Wratislavia Cantans Festival in Poland. The Carducci Quartet are highly celebrated for their interpretation of contemporary repertoire, and are regularly invited to perform new works.