String Quartet No.8


string quartet
String Quartet
Commissioned by the Norfolk and Norwich Music Club
First Performance
29.11.98, Assembly House, Norwich: Mandelring Quartet

Score 0-571-56450-X (fp) and parts 0-571-56451-8 (fp) for sale

Programme Notes

My Eighth Quartet was begun in the Autumn of 1997 as a 40th birthday present for my friend the Czech composer Pavel Novák. The Quartet is dedicated to him, but when I obtained the commission to write the piece for the Mandelring Quartet, I decided that the last movement should be a tribute to another friend, the composer Berthold Goldschmidt, who died in 1996 and whose string quartets have been superbly played and recorded by the Mandelring Quartet. Much of the material of the first movement is derived from my orchestral piece Burnham Wick which I wrote for the Britten Sinfonia in 1997. It is a lyrical sonata movement, and the second subject is based on a Welsh folksong, Y Deryn Du (The Blackbird), which appears in its original form at the end of the movement. The second movement is a scherzo which, as in several similar movements I have written, is built out of scraps of material of popular character; it seems to me that just as in Classical times, a scherzo should be related to the contemporary vernacular. The last movement is slow and its rhetorical outer sections frame a tranquil fugue - the first I have tried to write since student days. The last two notes in the first violin refer to the initials of Berthold Goldschmidt's name. String Quartet No. 8 was commissioned by the Norfolk and Norwich Music Club.

© David Matthews

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