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Fast Drones With Slow Lines (For String Quartet)

For String Quartet 

Vln 1 Vln 2 Vla & Vlc


Duration: c.10-12'

Programme Note: 

Fast Drones With Slow Lines is a piece explores aspects of rhythmical momentum, timbral colour and melodic lines. Creatively I have been fascinated with the concept of continuous motion, often employing perpetuum mobile and ostinatos in my compositions. This quartet combines these rhythmical fascinations with melodic lines that ebb and flow between the textures, moving from clearly distinctive lines to textural material. This is most noticeable in the central episodes, where a gentle tremolo organically expands into a luscious melodic line in the violin and viola. This is subsequently contrasted with the more aggressive and driving musical material that bookend this quartet.

When approaching this ensemble, I was initially daunted. Composing for string quartet is a challenging one, where previous chambers works, such as Piano Trios and Duos, often relied on the instruments providing the contract to an opposing instrument, like the piano. This aspect combined with the sheer volume of the music canon, and the wide variety of colours found in a string quartet led to me searching for ways in which I can remain authentic to my sound-world, whilst providing fresh material to the rich history of the ensemble. As such, I wanted to capitalise on the nimble and agileness of the ensemble, where my fascination with rhythmic propulsion could be explored through the vigorous repeated notes passed around the ensemble. It was this sense of excitement and vibrancy that I wanted to capture in the string quartet, where the ideas culminate in a ricochet of notes and figurations as the gestures reach their peak.


Fast Drones With Slow Lines was composed for the Sacconi Quartet and was subsequently premiered at the JAM On The Marsh Masterclass Series in 2023.

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