Three pieces for string quartet

for string quartet
8 mins.

This piece is in the repertoire of the Endellion Quartet.

Programme notes

The Three pieces for string quartet were written in 1975, in an attempt to create some worthwhile and challenging quartet repertoire for young string players. They were put in print in 1988, but for many years made little impression upon a hostile world. Then, to my delight, the Endellion String Quartet included them in a children’s concert at the 2006 Cambridge Festival, and played them again at West Road Concert Hall in Cambridge on 28th November 2007.

The title is slightly misleading, since it implies that each piece can stand independently. This is not really so: the three pieces are intended to make up a rounded whole, and the result is a three-movement string quartet in miniature. Although the technical demands are modified to suit young players, there are few compromises in the musical language. The first movement is energetic and quite tough, with passages of free ensemble; the second is a gentle song-like interlude featuring the viola; the last movement is a steady Blues, modelled (I now realise, with the benefit of hindsight) on the last movement of Ravel’s Sonata for violin and piano, which I had been performing at the time.

Giles Swayne 2008