Caroline Shaw & Attacca Quartet
Welcomed as “a love letter to the string quartet” by NPR, Orange was Caroline Shaw’s full-length debut of original music and her first album to win a Grammy. It was also the first record co-released by Nonesuch and New Amsterdam, proving the composer’s wide appeal among old guards and upstarts alike. But the shock of this instant success was tempered by the fact that Shaw was already the youngest winner ever of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, and because she had the powerhouse Attacca Quartet on her side.
Though she won the Pulitzer for Partita for 8 Voices with a capella experimenters Roomful of Teeth, Shaw’s signature recording is Orange, her full-length debut of original music. Welcomed by NPR as “a love letter to the string quartet,” it was addressed to New York’s Attacca Quartet, whose precision and daring earned the album a Grammy. Ingots of Mozart, Haydn, and Ravel melt in the music’s earthy, luminous warmth, which “exudes joy and a sense of wildness,” Pitchfork said. The Times called it one of the finest recordings of 2019, adding that the Attacca’s Domenic Salerni, Amy Schroeder, Nathan Schram, and Andrew Yee were “quickly becoming the authoritative ensemble for chamber works by Ms. Shaw.”
At Big Ears, Shaw will perform solo as well as joining the Attacca on some new music she has written for them. But first, we’ll hear their Orange in all its splendor, which is “completely gorgeous in so many ways,” said BBC Radio 3. “It hits you everywhere, all at once.”