The inaugural commissioners of this work, Mike and Frédérique Katz, wanted to help create music that uplifted, edified and elated. Blind optimism invariably palls, and the challenge was to find a more subtle solution.
The playfulness of children is a perfect example of the unbridled exuberance natural to our physiology, and although it is often fuelled in the young by poor risk assessment, a sense of fun and limitless potential is innately available to us all. When children concentrate, at its best it is complete and unselfconscious, and an ideal template for mental focus. The friendships that children make, similarly, are object lessons in openness and acceptance, and should remind us to continually re-evaluate the prejudice and bigotry with which our minds inevitably become cluttered.
Children have the chance to enjoy the most committed, uninterrupted deep sleep, and ageing bodies can but envy the restorative power available to creatures so close to the start of their lives. Finally, the intimate link between mind and body is rarely better exemplified than in the elation experienced when running - the sheer joy of wind and speed and feeling truly within one’s self, and within the world.
Carl Vine, February 2017
String Quartet No. 6 was commissioned by Musica Viva Australia with support from Michael and Frédérique Katz, The Seattle Commissioning Club, and Carnegie Hall. The first performance was given by the Takács Quartet in Perth Concert Hall, Perth, Australia, on August 10, 2017.