Quartet was commissioned by West Cork Music with funds from the Arts Council’s
Cultural Programme to mark Ireland’s
Presidency of the Council of the European Union. It was completed in January
2013 and lasts approximately 30 minutes and is played without a break other
than a prescribed 6 second pause between the two main sections.
slow introduction, mainly a discussion between ‘cello and viola, contains
motifs which permeate the entire quartet. Eventually the viola launches the
first principal section, marked Vivo,
with a crescendo from ppp to fff on a sustained note.
following vigorous music changes, on two occasions, to a slower more ruminative
style and the second of these, marked In
the style of a cadenza, leads, after a 6 second pause, to the lengthy Allegro con fuoco. There are two alternating ideas in this section,
which are developed on each return, and the music eventually reaches a declamatory
climax. This dissipates and there are various comments from all four
instruments before the quartet ends with ‘cello and viola having the last quiet
in February 2012, Francis Humphrys asked me to write a string quartet I had
recently completed my Tenth Symphony and the unaccompanied double bass piece to
be heard later this week. These share some common material and this process of developing
and reshaping some of my current ideas continued with the quartet. There are
particularly close parallels between the finales of the symphony and the quartet,
for instance, and echoes of the symphony slow movement occur in the first main section
of the quartet. The music is generally optimistic and energetic, but there are
dark and poignant shadows.
fifth string quartet is dedicated with great admiration to Francis Humphrys and
the Vanbrugh String Quartet for their enormous and unique contribution to
chamber music in Ireland.
The Arts Council participation in
the Cultural Programme to mark Ireland’s Presidency of the Council of the
European Union is supported by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the
Gaeltacht / Tá rannpháirtíocht na Comhairle
Ealaíon sa Chlár Cultúrtha chun comóradh a dhéanamh ar Uachtaránacht na
hÉireann ar Chomhairle an Aontais Eorpaigh á tacú ag an Roinn Ealaíon,
Oidhreachta agus Gaeltachta.