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String Quartet No. 2
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String Quartet No. 2
string quartet
duration 14:30  © 1984 Chester Music
Also see: String Quartet No 1
Performed by Goldner String Quartet on the ABC Classics CD Carl Vine String Quartets
on iTunes: [1]
Buy a copy of the score
Also see: Chamber Music  

Program Note:

This work is principally concerned with the rhythmic relationship between individual players and manipulation of the subsequent sense of "pulse" within the ensemble as a whole. The piece is in three clear sections. The introduction to the first centres on a constant beat which is subdivided in different ways by each player creating complex counter-rhythms from comparatively simple rhythmic lines. The players come into rhythmic unison on a pulse which is then subjected to a series of metric modulations, where a non-principal pulse in one bar becomes the principal pulse in the next and so on.

The second section centres on a rhythmic ostinato on cello which is then overlayed with other repetitive rhythmic figures similar to the rhythmic organisation of certain African musics. The harmonic approach to the piece is fairly simple if not traditional, either following a simple chordal progression which is obscured through unexpected voicing and/or the introduction of "extraneous" accidentals, or, as in the second section, based on a simple "mode" with similar obscuring techniques.

The final section confirms this harmonic simplicity with the introduction of repeated dominant-tonic chords which, through various recapitulations of what has gone before, leave no doubt that the work was actually in C major.


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