Orange Caroline Shaw / Attacca Quartet



release date: April 19, 2019

release date: April 19, 2019

New Amsterdam and Nonesuch Records released Pulitzer Prize–winning composer Caroline Shaw’s Orange, performed by Attacca Quartet, on April 19, 2019. Orange, which features six of Shaw’s pieces for string quartet, is the first full-length album to exclusively feature works by Shaw. It is also the first release in a new partnership between the two record labels, established with the goal of enabling contemporary American composers to realize creative ambitions that might not otherwise be achievable.

The Nation noted that “The music is highly original and deeply sophisticated, but also a great pleasure to experience.”

Composer Caroline Shaw is also a singer in the Grammy Award–winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, for which she wrote the piece that won the Pulitzer Prize: Partita. She has also played violin since the age of two and been drawn to the string quartet for most of her life. She says, “It has existed for hundreds of years, but there’s something kind of, for me, beautiful and ritualistic about coming back to that form. It’s something familiar, and yet you can keep on opening these doors and diving down these little rabbit holes. Just the simple changes of harmony and the shape of the bass line, and how that can create a whole world.”

Shaw describes the world she built for Orange as a garden that she and Attacca Quartet are tending. She used the group’s centuries-old combination of two violins (Amy Schroeder and Keiko Tokunaga), viola (Nathan Schram), and cello (Andrew Yee) to create a rich environment where traces of what has grown there before—left by Haydn, Mozart, Ravel, Bartok, Bach, Monteverdi, and Josquin—provide nourishment for new life.

Hints of past years’ growth remain in the soil, and so the new growth has been partially shaped by the old,” explains Shaw. “The colors are vivid and familiar, and the shapes of the leaves follow a pattern that you seem to know until you don’t.” She continues, “This album is a celebration of the simple, immediate, unadorned beauty of a natural, everyday, familiar thing.”

When describing the power of performing the works on Orange, Attacca Quartet explains that “playing and listening to Caroline Shaw’s music can turn a concert hall into your own peaceful living room. Between rehearsals and performances, we found ourselves marveling in the unassuming honesty of every passage and the profound effect it has on ourselves and our audiences.”

Track listing:

  1. Entr’acte

  2. Valencia

  3. Plan & Elevation: I. The Ellipse

  4. Plan & Elevation: II. The Cutting Garden

  5. Plan & Elevation: III. The Herbaceous Border

  6. Plan & Elevation: IV. The Orangery

  7. Plan & Elevation: V. The Beech Tree

  8. Punctum

  9. Ritornello 2.sq.2.J.A.

  10. Limestone & Felt

All songs written by Caroline Shaw

Produced by Antonio Oliart, Caroline Shaw and Attacca Quartet

Recorded, mixed, engineered, and mastered by Antonio Oliart at WGBH Studios

Executive producer is Anthony Rudel

Amy Schroeder – Violin
Keiko Tokunaga – Violin
Nathan Schram – Viola
Andrew Yee – Cello