Two Quartets by Helen Ottaway - CD cover


String Quartet No.1

Rain - String Quartet No.2


String Quartet No.1, 1998, was commissioned by Nottinghamshire County Council for the 'Music in Quiet Places' series. 

The five movements are inspired by and named after the places in the county where the first performances took place: 1. Bramcote – the architectural curves and arches of the church built on the site of an earlier, sunken, church; 2. Woodthorpe – light streaming through stained glass, images of trees, weightlessness; 3. Clumber – The delicate filigree of the ironwork and the many images of angels; 4. Kelham – The image captured by photographer Eve Arnold depicting the director of the seminary mowing the lawn with his habit tucked up and flying out behind him; 5. Ruddington - a story told by one of the staff of the Framework Knitters Museum which describes the congregations of the different denominations of Methodists in the village singing and calling to each other on their way to chapel on Sunday morning. The final movement is also a ‘knitting together’ of themes from the preceding movements.

Rain (String Quartet No.2), 2003, was commissioned by Bath Film Festival as an accompaniment to the black and white silent film, ‘Regen’ (Rain, 1929) by Joris Ivens. 

The film is set in Amsterdam and depicts life in the city on a rainy day. The film's focus shifts from city life to the rainstorm itself, and its transformative effect. Images include light on water; the prow of a boat cutting through the water, car, tram and bicycle wheels, shadows, the skyline, a man checking for rain and then turning his collar up, boats and birds, open umbrellas, close-ups of drips and puddles, rain on windows, in gutters, on water, reflections...... 

The concert version of the quartet is a reduced version of the film score.

Helen Ottaway - Composer

Helen Ottaway - Composer

Nottingham Parks - Map