Night Dances

Programme Note

Night Dances consists of four related but contrasting pieces of material. Two of these are generically specific dances, a habanera and a sarabande; the other two are more generally ‘dance-like’. As the piece progresses, these come to be superimposed onto one another at an increasing level of density. At first only two are ever heard simultaneously, but after a time this number increases to three, and at the climax of the piece all four are heard together for the first time, one on each instrument, all moving at different speeds. The piece closes with a brief recollection of the habanera with which the piece opened, this time on its own again.

‘the première of Edward Nesbit’s Night Dances, an eerie, uneasy work performed by the young Calidoré String Quartet. A series of dances refracted through a long structural arc, it begins with drooping glissandi and rhythms that only ever imply dances, as if they are hidden in the shadows. Funky at times…this work intrigued throughout its not overlong duration, and it was performed with distinction by the Calidorés.’ (David Allen, Bachtrack, 5th August 2013)

‘the UK premiere of Night Dances (2013) in which Edward Nesbit combined four finely differentiated dance measures in an eventful piece as subtle in its tempo modulation as it was arresting in its atmosphere.’ (Richard Whitehouse, Classical Source, 6th January 2014)

‘[Night Dances] was like a swirling phantasmagoria seen at twilight, full of surprising stops and starts. It had a delicate, fleeting charm, and occasional moments of thrumming vigour…’ (Ivan Hewitt, Telegraph, 7th January 2014)

‘There was oodles of [refinement] in Edward Nesbit’s impressionistic Night Dances for String Quartet, a UK premiere and a delicately perfumed work that superimposes four dances on to one another before fading, ever so gracefully, from the memory.’ (Hannah Nepil, Financial Times, 8th January 2014)

Year: 2013
Duration: 11′
Instrumentation: String Quartet
Commission: Edward Nesbit was the winner of the first Verbier Festival Academy Composer Prize supported by the Gianni Bergamo Classic Music Award. Night Dances was commissioned by the Verbier Festival.


7th August 2016
New Fromm Players
Seiji Ozawa Hall, Tanglewood, USA

6th January 2014
Jubilee Quartet
Purcell Room, London

2nd August 2013
Calidore Quartet
Broadcast on Medici TV

2nd August 2013
Calidore Quartet
Eglise, Verbier