Difficult but Worthwhile
I'm not going to lie: this isn't my favorite music of all time. It requires one to be in a certain, accepting frame of mind. These quartets consist largely of elongated sheets of sound, the pitches sliding up and down creating strange and frankly spacey effects. Coates uses some of the more intellectualized tools of composition, such as mirror canon, in her quartets, although of course this isn't usually obvious from straightfoward listening. Sometimes she manages to make the quartet sound like a much larger ensemble due to the sheer combined weight of the sounds being produced by the instruments. This is difficult music, but for the adventurous - especially those specifically interested in modern string quartet writing - it should not be ignored, especially in these admirably performed and recorded performances by the Kreutzer Quartet.