Three Miniatures for String Quartet by Joseph Davies.

Programme Notes

These three short pieces for string quartet were written for the Allegri Quartet as part of their University of Oxford residency in early 2008, and first performed by the quartet at the Holywell Music Room, Oxford on 23rd February that year. They are conceived as highly contrasting, but united by concerns of memory and fragmentation. In the first, a sliding siren-like ostinato from the cello underpins gestural fragments from the other strings like broken bits of half-remembered pieces, which eventually collapse into a dense chromatic cluster. Then follows a wistful fugue (my first and final foray into 12-tone serialism), interrupted by a nervous outbreak imitating the strange and crystalline soundworld of the Austrian serialist Anton Webern. The final piece adopts the challenge of recasting my early Campanological Study for piano (2007) into the technically foreign medium of string quartet. The bells in question, heard in the plucked cello at the beginning and reappearing with their pitches warped at the end, are those of New College, Oxford.

- Joseph Davies