• Giles Swayne
  • String Quartet No 2 (1977)

  • Novello & Co Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Wissema Quartet

  • String Quartet
  • 22 min

Programme Note

Giles Swayne: String Quartet No. 2 (1977)

My second string quartet was written during the summer of 1977. It was commissioned by the Wissema Quartet (with funds provided by the Arts Council), who gave the first performance during the 1978 BBC Young Composers' Forum in Manchester. It lasts slightly over twenty minutes, and is made up of five linked and proportionally related movements, each of which is slower than the one before. This gradual relaxation of tempo (the first movement is very rapid indeed) is accompanied by a corresponding increase in duration and complexity; in plain language, the music becomes slower, longer, and richer in detail. The effect of this is a gradual shift of emphasis, from the extrovert first movement to the introspective ending. There is a short breathing-space before the final movement, but otherwise the piece plays without a break. It is framed by a prologue and epilogue for solo cello.

© Giles Swayne