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This quartet has a specific point of reference, the birth of a baby boy called Sacha, and the piece is dedicated to him (a birthday present). So inevitably an element of joy and exuberance informs the quicker movements of the quartet, while the slow movement is perhaps less serene. In fact a slightly abrasive chord sequence pervades this movement and reference is made to these chords in each of the other movements of the quartet. These chords are always brushed aside so if they suggest an ore anguished mood, they are never with us for long.
The first and last movements are built no recognisable motives which are put through their paces in the same way that the classical composers such as Haydn might have done. These outer movements also share material to give the piece a sense of unity. A broad theme which appears at the end of the first movement also makes its appearance at the end of the last movement where it naturally flows from the quicker note motif with which that movement had begun. The Scherzo is placed second and is a whirlwind in five-eight time, and is definitely a close relation to the scherzo in the “Bustard” Quartet (which was in six-eight).
This second String Quartet shares the overall sound wold of Quartet No. 1. and that was intentional – there seemed so much more to say. But I can already hear the sound world of my String Quartet No.3 which will be quite different.
© Ronald Corp, 2010
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