This work is in the simplest version of sonata form - medium, slow, fast. The first movement largely uses the quartet as a single, large instrument. There are seldom more than two independent lines, but these are spread across the ensemble so that a single player rarely completes a single line. These passages are separated by heavy repeated rhythms supporting rhapsodic solos from the lead violin. The central movement focuses on monody in which each instrument in turn, excluding the lead violin, plays a melodic solo accompanied by simple moving chords. The work closes with a demonic moto perpetuo finale. Commissioned by and dedicated to the Smith Quartet (London), with financial assistance from the Brighton Arts Festival and the Performing Arts Board of the Australia Council.
‘A subtle baroque flavour... a slow movement of ravishing arabesques above a pizzicato cello, balanced by outer sections of darting counterpoint.’
The Independent (Nicholas Williams), 24 May 1994