Capricious and deliberate
Jeremy Gill
Parker Quartet
Catalog Number: 
new classical
string quartet

Jamaica Plain, MA

Release Date: 
Jun 30, 2015
Liner Notes: 
1 CD
One Sheet: 

Recorded here by the Grammy-winning Parker Quartet, Jeremy Gill’s “Capriccio” is a wide-ranging exploration of the potential of the string quartet. “The historical frame of the capriccio [by Bach, Brahms, and Paganini among others] allowed me to create a kaleidoscopic array of wildly varying movements that explore all of the technical, expressive, and textural possibilities of the string quartet medium,” says Gill. “The didactic nature of ‘Capriccio’ makes it ideal for educational concerts, allowing young listeners to experience the various techniques that string players employ. The Parker Quartet has already excerpted the work for several such events around the country.”

From The Washington Post, after the DC-area premiere of “Capriccio”: “A movement in which the strings wandered around in high silvery harmonics followed one in which the three high strings plucked a guitarlike accompaniment to the cello’s tenor song. In another, a broadly bowed legato morphed into the pins and needles of a sharply detached spiccato. A movement titled ‘Open Strings,’ which gave off a whiff of orchestral tuning, seemed as at home in here as the movements where the quartet slithered around in microtones. Scattered among the movements, the four interludes with their echoes of the Renaissance and the Baroque paid homage to the music’s forebears. The total effect of these distilled slices of musical stuff was intriguing.”

Massachussett’s-based Jeremy Gillʼs music has been lauded as “vividly colored” (The New York Times), “exhilarating” (The Philadelphia Inquirer), “intriguing” (The Washington Post), and “work of considerable intensity” (American Record Guide). He has composed in every genre—symphonies, concerti, chamber music, songs and song cycles, and opera—is an active pianist and conductor. His music has been commissioned by the Dallas Symphony, Concert Artists Guild, Chamber Music America, and the Lois Lehrman Grass Foundation, among others.

Formed in 2002 and now in residence at Harvard, the Parker Quartet (Daniel Chong, Ying Xue, Jessica Bodner, and Kee-Hyun Kim) has rapidly distinguished itself as one of the preeminent ensembles of its generation. The New York Times has hailed the quartet as “something extraordinary,” The Washington Post has described them as having “exceptional virtuosity [and] imaginative interpretation,” and The Boston Globe acclaims their “pinpoint precision and spectacular sense of urgency.” The quartet began touring on the international circuit after winning the Concert Artists Guild Competition as well as the Grand Prix and Mozart Prize at the Bordeaux International String Quartet Competition in France.

“Capriccio” was commissioned by the Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program, with generous funding provided by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund, and this recording of the work was supported by a NewMusic USA Project Grant awarded in January 2015, made possible by annual program support and/or endowment gifts from the Helen F. Whitaker Fund and the Aaron Copland Fund for Music.



"[A] varied and kaleidoscopic collection of vivid miniatures. To listen to the piece straight through is to go off in many unpredictable directions — invocations of Baroque and operatic music, etude-like explorations of the technical issues in string playing, and an ebullient cataloging of the various textural and rhetorical forms that writing for string quartet can take. ... [T]here’s a generosity of spirit at work here that is only reaffirmed by the quartet’s splendid playing." [FULL ARTICLE]
Joshua Kosman

"[A] compelling musical narrative much greater than the sum of the individual parts. Gill's stylistic references range from retro-Baroque to plinkingly post-modern, and the performance by the Parker Quartet, who commissioned the piece, is stunningly accomplished. A work to return to often, for fresh insight and stimulation." [FULL ARTICLE]
Terry Blain

"[A] tour de force of brilliant miniature compositions, relating one to another like the infinite variety of snowflakes descending onto earth during the first snow of winter. ... It is also a wonderful showcase for the Parker Quartet, who excel in producing dramatically pronounced differences and contrasts with a surety of the very best. ... By the vivacity of each part and the experience of the ever-shifting whole one is captivated and endlessly stimulated. In the process Jeremy Gill conveys to us his own special sensibilities as a composer of almost unlimited breadth, a master stylist who knows virtually no boundaries in his poetic collocation of past, present and future into an hour of quartet fireworks and fantasia." [FULL ARTICLE]
Greg Edwards

"[T]he execution is fresh and clever. ... The cycle is a compositional tour-de-force that shows Gill’s versatility and attention to detail."
George Adams