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First Live Performance of Cassandra Miller’s Thanksong at Dartington

Aug. 08, 2022

First Live Performance of Cassandra Miller’s <em>Thanksong</em> at Dartington

Cassandra Miller’s Thanksong for soprano and string quartet receives its live premiere this summer on August 15 at the Dartington International Summer School. The piece was premiered online in August 2020, and will be performed for a live audience for the first time. Performers include the Quatuor Bozzini and soprano Juliet Fraser, who also recorded it for an online video.

The 15-minute work draws on musical history, as Cassandra Miller often does in her work. The title references the ‘Heiliger Dankgesang’ from Beethoven’s String Quartet, Op. 132, summoning the same prayerful and inward mood of that piece’s opening. To compose Thanksong, Cassandra Miller sang along (automatic singing-in-meditation) to the four individual parts of the quartet, many times in repetition, transforming the material into gentle pendulum-like repeated gestures.

The members of the Quatuor Bozzini and Juliet Fraser each perform independently, as if five soloists. The quartet members play the music by ear (with the aid of simplified notation), listening in headphones to Miller’s voice – and the composition is held together by the pacing and breath of Juliet Fraser, as she sings Beethoven’s line as slowly and quietly as possible.

Thanksong will receive its first London performance by the Quatuor Bozzini at Wigmore Hall on December 3, where Miller will be a Composer-in-Focus. On July 8, Miller’s Perfect Offering was performed at Wigmore Hall by Explore Ensemble.

(The Ives Ensemble performs Cassandra Miller's Perfect Offering)

To learn more about Cassandra Miller, visit:

Cassandra Miller
Thanksong (2020)
for soprano and string quartet