Much of the sound of my string quartet is determined by the unusual tunings of half of the instruments – the 2nd violin has all its strings tuned down a semitone, and the viola has all its strings tuned down a tone. This greatly expands the number of different pitches available to be played as open strings – unlike the conventional tuning of a quartet, this combination contains 16 unique strings. All of the piece’s five movements are in some sense explorations of the distinctive timbre of open strings.
I was immensely touched to be asked by Regina Hepner to write a piece for a concert in memory of her husband Leo Hepner.
‘In his first (of many, let’s hope) string quartet, Coult made extensive use of open strings, creating new aural possibilities with fascinating results.’
The Observer (Fiona Maddocks), 3 June 2018