The essay in the program booklet for this release of Górecki's String Quartet No. 3 (…songs were sung), makes much of a supposed caesura in Górecki's creative output following the phenomenal success of Nonesuch's 1992 release of this Third Symphony, with soprano Dawn Upshaw, which elevated him practically to the level of a pop star. The essay implies that his meteoric rise to being one of the most famous and popular contemporary composers may have produced a creative crisis that caused him to wait until 2005 to finally deliver the score of his Third Quartet, which he had written in the winter of 1994-1995. In fact, Górecki's sudden notoriety seems to have had little effect on his creativity; between 1993 and 2004, he wrote 16 opus numbers.
The String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Opus 11, was Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's first completed string quartet of three string quartets, published during his lifetime. (An earlier attempt had been abandoned after the first movement had been completed.) Composed in February 1871, it was premiered in Moscow on 16/28 March 1871 by four members of the Russian Musical Society: Ferdinand Laub and Ludvig Minkus, violins; Pryanishnikov, viola; and Wilhelm Fitzenhagen, cello.
Franz Liszt, writing about Grieg's String Quartet No 1, declared: 'It is long time since I have encountered a new composition, especially a string quartet, which has intrigued me as greatly as this distinctive and admirable work by Grieg'. Grieg himself said that his quartet '… aims at breadth; to soar, and above all at a vigorous sound for the instruments for which it is written.' In 1891, Edvard Grieg started his second quartet, but sadly lacked inspiration and time to finish the last two movements. Levon Chilingirian of the Chilingirian Quartet has studied the original manuscripts of the first two movements (which have many clarifying instructions added by Julius Röntgen in preparation for their printing by C F Peters in 1908) and prepared the third and fourth movements especially for this recording. This is therefore a first recording of the completed String Quartet No 2.
World première recordings of works by John Tavener, Arvo Pärt, Valentin Silvestrov and Alexander Knaifel sit alongside pieces by Henryk Górecki and John Cage on the first recording from a new Irish label operated by noted concert promoters Louth Contemporary Music Society (LCMS). All of these very popular contemporary composers have in various ways been deeply influenced by profound spiritual, religious or cultural encounters, and the disc celebrates them in a moving, magical programme. A Place Between intersperses - to wonderful effect - beautiful works for string quartet (Silvestrov's meditative Ikon, Tavener's deeply moving Ikon of Joy/Sorrow, Pärt's reflective Da Pacem Domine) with two solo piano works (Pärt's uplifting Hymn to a Great City, and Cage’s melodic and expressive In a Landscape). Górecki's memorial for Michael Vyner, Good Night and Knaifel’s mystical O Heavenly King both feature the haunting voice of soprano Patricia Rozario. Silvestrov's 25.X.1893 lullaby is a melancholic and lyrical piece for violin and piano.