the cicada¹s cry
drills into the rocks
It has been a privilege to write my third string quartet for the RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet. They have performed both my first quartet from 1983, a seminal work in my development, and my second quartet, Mystic Play of Shadows of 1995 which was premiered at the first West Cork Chamber Music Festival in 1996. While writing this third quartet, it was encouraging to know that there would be no limits to what I could expect from the performers.
Each of the five short movements is complete within itself, while also part of a larger shape, and the work ends with a brief epilogue, which is more of a whisper than a roar.
I enjoy the rich palette of sound produced by string instruments and the wonderful range of relationships that can be created between the musicians in a quartet. The four players become one, creating moving shapes and textures as if a single instrument. You will hear a constantly shifting and unpredictable movement of sound, which might suggest the drifting of clouds, surging of waves, or mingling of bird calls.
My thanks to the Tyrone Guthrie Centre at Annaghmakerrig for providing a peaceful space which assisted the composition of this work.
Commissioned by West Cork Music with funds provided by Radio Telefis Eireann, The Arts Council/An Comhairle Ealaion and Key Choice commissioners.