Anatomical Planes, is a series of five comprovisations recorded on January 9, 2020, with the Ligeti Quartet and the composer Sean Noonan on drum kit which employ concepts from Conlon Nancarrow's Studies for Player Piano: Study No. 5 (two repeating ostinatos at tempos of 5-against-7) Study No. 11 (an isorhythmic blues on a repeating sequence of 120 chords) and Study No. 20, (a pointillist duration canon of repeating notes within small ranges).
Developing techniques used on the 2012 album, A Gambler’s Hand, Noonan treats the quartet as an extension of his limbs, mapping out a polyrhythmic language on the drum set using Sensory Percussion that is later structured with collected tone rows (Alban Berg), multi-temporal rhythms (Henry Cowell) and aleatoric comprovisation (John Cage/Zorn).
The 2014 album In the Ring could be described at any particular moment, punk jazz grooves lock with insistent string ostinatos, which then morph into spiky counterpoint reminiscent of Bartok. Noonan narrates his tales from the drum set as if Irish playwright Samuel Beckett was drumming himself.
"The drummer and composer Sean Noonan approaches postmodern jazz and world music from the same angle of self-discovery ... he manages to make his pieces speak coherently, and in a unified voice." - Nate Chinen, New York Times
"Menacingly surreal, often assaultive, a feast for fans of dark, challenging music…it’s a category unto itself – and one of the best albums of 2012 in any style of music. Scary Stuff from Sean Noonan." - Lucid Culture
About the Ligeti Quartet
• Mandhira de Saram (violin 1)
• Patrick Dawkins (violin 2)
• Richard Jones (viola)
• Val Welbanks (cello)
The Ligeti Quartet have been at the forefront of modern and contemporary music since their formation in 2010. They have established a reputation as one of the UK’s leading ensembles, breaking new ground through innovative programming and championing of today’s most exciting composers and artists.
Having played at landmark venues around the world including Carnegie Hall, Curtis Institute, Wigmore Hall, Purcell Room, Barbican Hall, and Kings Place, they also regularly escape the stage to appear at museums, galleries, theatres, pubs, in an IMAX Theatre, on a fishing boat, in a cave, and on iceberg sculptures as part of a Greenpeace campaign. In autumn 2018 they took part in a critically acclaimed tour of UK planetariums, in association with Sound UK.
They have commissioned many new works and have collaborated with artists from all types of musical backgrounds including Anna Meredith, Stef Conner, Elliot Galvin, Kerry Andrew (Juice Vocal Ensemble), Laura Jurd, Meilyr Jones, Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy), Seb Rochford (Polar Bear), Shabaka Hutchings (Sons of Kemet), Shed 7 and Submotion Orchestra. They are currently working on a long-term project with Ernst von Siemens prize-winning composer Christian Mason to create a series of Songbooks for string quartet, based on overtone singing traditions from around the world.
The Quartet are passionate about supporting emerging composers and taking new music to diverse audiences. As Ensemble in Residence at Cambridge University, Sheffield University, and Goldsmiths, University of London, they regularly lead composition workshops, and undertake education and community outreach work. They took part in the Cheltenham Festival Composers’ Academy 2017, and became City Music Foundation Artists in 2016.