• Haflidi Hallgrímsson
  • String Quartet No 2 (In Memoriam Bryn Turley), Op. 11 a (1990)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust with funds made available by the Scottish Arts Council.

Former title Four Movements for String Quartet

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  • 20 min

Programme Note

My second String Quartet is written in memory of the English pianist, Bryn Turley, who died in tragic circumstances in July 1988.

From the darkest sound of the cello - the open C string - a mood of quiet despair imbues the whole of the first movement. The cello gradually emerges as a protagonist in a long and fragmented oration that leads to an anguished climax that involves the whole quartet in dramatic repeated chords, leading to an ending of calm resignation.

In a short introduction, fragments already heard are developed in a state of subdued contemplation in the second movement, which proceeds slowly, in a funeral-like procession, towards an ending of eerie calm.

The third movement is restless, and develops in an obsessive manner the main intervals of major and minor seconds, tossing them from instrument to instrument until finally gathering the short fragmented phrases into a lively and purposeful passage that ends abruptly and inconclusively.

A calm and highly lyrical duet played by the violins creates a sense of reconciliation and calm that leads through a slow introduction to a web of tremolando patterns. These gradually proliferate and finally merge into a robust and positive unison, reaching the main climax of the whole work in the extreme high register of the instruments. The cello completes the journey by sounding the low C briefly, before the whole work comes to a rest on a long quiet chord.

© Haflidi Hallgrímsson