No 43 Three Quartets (2009)
For String Quartet, Saxophone Quartet, Percussion Quartet & Sinewaves
Commissioned by: World Minimal Music Festival, with financial support from the Netherlands Fund for the Performing Arts
First Performance: Matangi String Quartet, Amstel Saxophone Quartet and Percussion The Hague. April 3 2009, Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam
Instrumentation: String Quartet, Saxophone Quartet, Percussion Quartet & Sinewaves
Duration: ca. 26’
Special Features: Performance requires stopwatch monitor on stage, sound engineer and amplification for all musicians
Three Quartets consists of three sections of uniform length (each app. 8’30”), and is notated mostly in the form of microtonal ‘available pitches’ from which the musicians choose and combine their entries upon concentrated listening.
Though sharing common material, each individual quartet proceeds through time at its own speed, with each section centering around a specific register, range and form. Starting from two separate four-part quartets in section I (2 X 4), the string and saxophone quartets gradually disintegrate into combinations of 4 X 2 players and eventually 8 X 1 for the final, lowest, section.
The Percussion Quartet, unable to intonate microtonally, complements the other quartets by tracking their progress as they move towards or away from unison - through simultaneously translating their Hertz values into pulse. In this way each section has its own tempo and accordingly different setup: Hard Metals for the first section, bright Metals for the second and resonant Skins for the last.