...geeky, highly-interactive, creative and collaborative...unlike anything its intended audience – or anyone else – has ever heard.
— Gramophone
...preposterous, charming and brilliantly performed.
— BBC Music Magazine

2017 grammy Award® nominee

This is repertoire that makes serious demands on the performer, and offers serious rewards for the listener. It just happens to be a lot of fun to listen to, as well.
— WQXR's Q2 Music
...superb performances, vivid and strongly felt, convincingly argued and full of rich, characterful detail.
— The Strad

Nominated for a 2017 GRAMMY Award®, Serious Business (Sono Luminus) unpacks the theme of humor in classical music through the lens of three world premieres by inventive young composers, and one entry from the year 1781.

Comprised almost exclusively of tonal cadences, Sky Macklay’s Many Many Cadences from 2014 sends the quartet plummeting from the upper reaches of their instruments, cycling at cutthroat speeds, before warping into a fevered variant of itself.

Equal parts punk rock and classical virtuosity, David Reminick’s 2014 The Ancestral Mousetrap requires the quartet to sing while traversing taut, complex counterpoint. The macabre, absurdist, and often profound poetry of Russell Edson provides the libretto for this one-of-a-kind work.

Chris Fisher-Lochhead’s Hack, written in 2015, takes painstaking transcriptions of bits from famous stand-up comedians (including Sarah Silverman, Dave Chappelle, George Carlin, Robin Williams, Rodney Dangerfield, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Pryor, and many more) as the piece’s launch point, and mines the nonverbal elements of humor: cadence, pitch, and timing. The staggering score is by turns rapturous, heady, and hyperkinetic.

The Spektral Quartet has yet to experience a performance of Haydn’s “The Joke” in which the audience doesn’t laugh at the piece’s fake-out conclusion. Brimming with whimsy, radiant string writing, and memorable melodies, “The Joke”, from 1781, stands as the historic counterbalance to the abundance of new commissions on Serious Business.

“...[a] delirious new record...”
— Alex Ross
The performances and recording could hardly be better...
— The Chicago Tribune




Many Many Cadences Score Follower

The Ancestral Mousetrap Music Video

Serious Business Release Video