Availability

Score and parts on special sale from the hire library. A link to the electronic resources necessary for public performance will be supplied by the Hire Library upon request

Programme Notes

This work is for string quartet with elaborate real-time electronics. The sounds of the players are diffused in space with thematic rhythms so that the flying spatialisation is integral to the structure, part of the transformation process. Using IRCAM's SPAT programme (with the help of GIlbert Nouno)it is possible to locate the sounds at any distance, at any point. This point can then be moved, like a living presence; the sound aquires an attribute closer to life, but unseen. When this movement is regular, like the repetitions of dance steps, for instance, the 'presence' begins to take on a character, a personality (though still invisible). Such music becomes a metaphor of subtle modes of being, from 'astral travel', to dreaming, to Gaston Bachelard's 'vertical imagination', to Nietsche's flying fantasies in Zarathustra, to buddhist visualisation practices in higher meditation (etc.!). The quartet is the dreamer, the spatialisation the dream... All sorts of psychic metamorphoses are undergone by the string sound; it seems to enter into spaces like the centre of the earth - deep bass transposition - or open empty spaces. Such is the imagined relation of player to the electronic treatment. Formally the quartet is divided into 'cycles'; it is as if several lives are depicted, each dying and being reborn with traces of the previous ones. Repetition, transformation; architecture and narrative; construction, dissolution: these are the characteristics of both autonomous music and what it refers to outside itself. Jonathan Harvey

Reviews

Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, St Paul’s Hall, 24 November 2003 (UK premiere) Arditti Quartet/Jonathan Harvey & Gilbert Nouno (sound diffusion) ‘…the real transcendence on the programme came in Jonathan Harvey's String Quartet No 4, written for the Ardittis, and another British premiere. Combined throughout with live electronics, the players were the catalysts for a musical journey that revealed the minutiae of instrumental sound. The tiny noises they made by brushing the outside of their instruments were amplified into vivid electronic fantasies. The piece finally blossomed with an outpouring of voluptuous melody: music that eroded the difference between the live players and their electronic shadows. ‘ The Guardian (Tom Service), 26 November 2003 ‘Jonathan Harvey's String Quartet No 4 was a British premiere, and one with the feel of a major artistic event. At one level it is a spellbinding demonstration of how to integrate live instruments with real-time electronics. More importantly, that feels the only medium in which the music's spiritual aspirations could have been realised. These days, an ecstatic, trance-like conclusion comes relatively cheap; but Harvey's feels entirely earned and, like the Arditti's magnificent playing, quite beyond criticism.’ Daily Telegraph (David Fanning), 26 November 2003

String Quartet No.4

Sir Jack Lyons Concert Hall, University of York (York, United Kingdom)

Quatuor Diotima, Gilbert Nouno

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Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom)

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Reid Concert Hall, University of Edinburgh (Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom)

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