Robert A.



String Quartet #2

2008 | ca. 16 min.

[] Selected for Canadian Contemporary Music Workshop, 2009

f.p. 27 Sep./09, Toronto. The Madawaska Quartet


Complete performance (17:20)

Excerpt 1: mm. 1-18 (1:25)

Excerpt 2: mm. 66-86 (1:18)

Excerpt 3: mm. 92-109 (1:07)

Excerpt 4: mm. 129-164 (2:13)

Excerpt 5: mm. 179-217 (2:06)

Excerpt 6: mm. 226-end (2:30)

Programme Notes

This piece is a single movement work of approximately fifteen minutes in duration. Its formal design is in three main parts, yet each are comprised of several distinct passages or sections.

The first part is an introductory section of three highly active and unstable phrases that fluctuate in sonic density and texture. The second part is a brief intermediate passage marked by active pizzicato and sudden changes in instrumental colours and techniques.

The third part, and main body of the work, is comprised of two contrasting musical ideas: one aggressive and rhythmic, the other calm and melodic. These two musical characters, or narratives, appear and reappear in alternation in such a way that the passages of the first narrative become shorter, while those of the second become longer.

However, despite this three-part ‘theoretical’ structure, there is a highly sectionalized quality to the musical discourse within each part, which (I hope) may act to blur these boundaries and provide a potentially more flexible interpretation of the work’s form. It is this potential for widely varying perceptions of the form of the work from listener to listener that was at the heart of my compositional interest when writing this piece.

String Quartet #2 is dedicated to John Rea.