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Programme Notes

Nicholas Maw String Quartet No. 3 This quartet, commissioned by Warwick University for the twenty first anniversary of the Coull String Quartet, was completed in December of 1994. Though considerably more concise than my two previous string quartets, this work shares with them a preoccupation with the coalescing of several characteristic movement forms into a larger whole, in this case a single structure built of five clearly differentiated movement-sections. The first of these, marked Moderato grazioso e semplice, opens with a lyrical statement on the violin that forms the basis of the whole movement-section. There follows a Larghetto pesante with something of the character of a folk dirge, enclosing cadenzas for violin, cello and viola. At the centre of the work are two fast movements. In the first of these, marked Presto volante, the four instruments are muted until near the end. The overall mood is ghostly and nocturnal, but there are several violent interruptions. The following Allegro marcarto is a stamping dance in a constantly fluctuating metre. A short reprise of the Larghetto pesante acts as a transition into the final movement, a passacaglia marked Lento molto. The ground bass, repeated forty one times, goes through all twelve transpositions. The work ends with a short coda, consisting of a reminiscence of the opening movement followed by a series of quiet triadic chords. Nicholas Maw

String Quartet No.3

Juilliard School, Lincoln Center (New York City, NY, USA)

String Quartet No.3


Purcell Room, Southbank Centre (London, United Kingdom)

WU Quartet

String Quartet No.3

Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick (Coventry, West Midlands, United Kingdom)

Coull Quartet

String Quartet No.3

Daniel and Joanna S. Rose Studio, Lincoln Center (New York City, NY, USA)

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

String Quartet No.3

BBC Radio 3 (United Kingdom)

Delmé String Quartet