Score 0-571-56962-5 and parts 0-571-56963-3 (fp) on sale
Much of my previous concert music describes a journey from darkness to light; from uncertainty to affirmation. Although this approach doesn’t demand that optimism be entirely blind, the current state of our little planet has given this quartet a decidedly bittersweet flavour in its exploration of conflict without resolution. The work is in one movement of two roughly equal halves. It opens by summoning the four players into a conversation that, eventually, drifts into a ‘murmuring’ that introduces the first sign of dissent. A slow ostinato pattern heralds a reflective violin solo that is overtaken by antagonism, but returns unperturbed to close the first half. The second half sets angular rhythmic gestures, heard at its outset, in opposition to the pensive chorale that immediately follows. The aggression of the rhythmic gestures develops continually, eventually subsuming all other material heard in the work. There is no coalescence, and the chorale closes the work only because the brutal rhythms have, for the moment, ceased. String Quartet No 4 was commissioned for Musica Viva Australia by Geoff and Vicki Ainsworth in honour of Carl Vine’s fiftieth birthday, with support from the Ian Potter Music Commissions. The first performance will be given by the Takács String Quartet at the Perth Concert Hall, Western Australia, on 22nd November 2004.
Carl Vine – August 2004