• Elizabeth Maconchy
  • String Quartet No 10 (1972)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Cheltenham Festival

  • String Quartet
  • 15 min

Programme Note

My STRING QUARTET NO 10 was written in the later half of the 1971, for the University of Alberta String Quartet who gave the first oerformance on 15 July at the Pttiville Pump Room, Cheltenham. This work was commissioned by the Cheltenham Festival with funds provided by Arts council of Great Britain.

My first Quartet dates from 1932 and the intervening ones have been written at fairly regular intervals inbetween. It is the form which has seemed best suited to express the kind of music I want to write-an impassioned argument. Four players, like the characters in a drama, each pursue an independent line, yet react upon the influence of each other. I find it the most exacting but most satisfying medium to work in, with its need for economy, clarity, and closely-knit form, and have been drawn back to it again and again.

The new Quartet is in one movement of about fourteen minutes duration, within which a number of contrasting sections are woven into a whole. It is framed by a recurrent ‘Lento’ passage of repeated chords, with, at the opening, the brief motif in the viola which dominates the whole ‘Quartet’. In the course of the movement three contrasted quick sections (deriving in different ways from the motif) are punctuated by slower passages.

The tension grows as ideas are combined, and a climax is reached with a restatement of the opening material, extended and transformed by what has gone before. The work ends quietly.

Elizabeth Maconchy

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