Set of parts
Commissioned by Warwick University for the twenty first anniversary of the Coull String Quartet, Nicholas Maw’s String Quartet No.3 was completed in December of 1994. Though considerably more concise than his 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. It begins in a spirit of restless lyricism which builds compellingly, eloquence and drama intensifying in ways which place the music firmly in the traditions of Berg and Bartók without any hint of abject dependency. The work is crowned by a concluding passacaglia which creates tension from the superimposition of contrasting layers of texture before reaching a climax with a unison line for all four players, a moment of revelation which subsides into a regretful resolution.
'The Coull Quartet has brought into the world a work that will retain a place in the repertoire… a string quartet of exceptionally high quality … the motivation in an inspired surge of melody is both unmistakable and emotionally convincing.'
The Times (Gerald Larner), 12 May 1995