200 words about my 2000 String Quartet….
After Lutoslawsky’s and Ligeti’s and Bartok’s ( and the other great 20. c. works of string quartet writing )
how could I compose something fresh for these four strings, I asked myself ?
( – It was indeed a long way from Tipperary where I was born in 1944. )
And yet have its musical argument clearly audible ? Musical logic ?
So I had to learn from the young Beethoven – I had to spin everything out of Bar One.
So I prepared my explosive opening idea , four strings playing each
its own angry statement fortissimo, yet not metrically synchronized with the others .
Yes, every gesture born out of Bar One’s knorl .
So this one movement quartet quite simply consists of this 4 – part idea plus its thousand variants, but each version blocked
by the grid of metrically barred music. Every possible gesture and tone-colour and string-attack is
used in all of these appearances of my opening idea .
At rehearsal-letter G_ all is pizzicati . After letter H_ all is c.l.b., and then c.l.t..
At I_ the 4 strings give us a legato version. K_ chorale presents yet another idea of Bar one.
L_ is a sound-prism of madly breathless
At N_ bar one seems to return. – But as a varied reprise .
Q _ , al piu presto, – all very fast
After S_ the left hand pizz has
entered the colour- argument, these delicate, impossible pizzicati.
The second half of this stream of musical consciousness strives towards closure.
Is Z_ its crisis.
V_ and W_ , sempre al piu presto, are as throstled helplessness .
By T1 the four voices have come to rest. The kinetic energy has stopped. Deep frozen now the original opening notes of Bar One.
In my end is my beginning….