• Elizabeth Maconchy
  • String Quartet No 13 'Quartetto Corto' (1984)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the City of Portsmouth International String Quartet Competition

  • String Quartet
  • 8 min

Programme Note

Quartetto Corto was composed as a test piece for the 1985 Portsmouth String Quartet competition. It is a ‘little quartet’ in length (just eight minutes) but not in scope: the musical language has the energy and intensity which characterise all of the Elizabeth Maconchy’s Quartets, from No 1 (1931) to No 12 (1981).

The concise structure of the QUARTETTO is not hard to follow: an opening allegro moderato and a closing allegro resoluto flank a central lento. This slow section is the heart of the work, with expressve solo lines creating a rich web of harmonies. Thus the QUARTETTO is three movements in one, following a traditional quick, slow, quick form; it is also a single span, unified by the way in which the various contrasting ideas can be heard as transformations of one another.

Elizabeth Maconchy

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