I’m delighted that the Robinson Panoramic Quartet will be giving another performance of Night Song and Garden Quadrille in Co Kilkenny on Sunday 21st February.
RPQ were ensemble-in-residence for Kaleidoscope Night 2014 and 2014-15 resident tutors for Music Generation Carlow‘s Outstanding Young Musician programme.
This pioneering group explores the possibilities of an alternative to the conventional string quartet in which both tonal palette and range are extended. Composers have reacted very enthusiastically and we have already built a significant repertoire for Panoramic String Quartet. Audiences have been delighted by this revelation in string chamber music, and excited by the dynamic and rapport of the ensemble.
The RPQ in association with Kaleidoscope Night received Arts Council funding to commission a significant new work from Raymond Deane, Quadripartita, which was delivered at Kaleidoscope on the 3rd December 2014. This was the final of four premieres commissioned by us and performed during our 2014 residency.
This grouping is definitely not just like a standard quartet with a few extra low notes: the shift in roles for viola and cello changes everything, and the double-bass adds a wealth of potential textures and timbres. Having four distinct voices rather than two identical ones at the top invites the composer to explore four identities and also facilitates greater overall equality because no instrument has timbral dominance. The range of the violin extends far beyond the upper limit of the human voice and the extension to the lower range afforded by the double bass seems an entirely logical balance.
The Journal of Music published an article about us here in February 2013 outlining our rationale and plans for the group at its inception.
In The Irish Times (5th Feb 2014), Michael Dervan wrote with reference to the standard quartet, that the RPQ “showed what an interesting, rich middle the viola and cello can provide … And the combination of cello and double bass genuinely adds a totally new dimension.”