String Quartet: in tempore belli

String Quartet: in tempore belli

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string quartet
Instrumentation

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Alternate Title
String Quartet No. 1
Year Authored (or revised)
Duration (min)
14
Movements

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Detail

Description

Composer's Note:

This work was originally started in 1965 (!) but I finally completed it in 2020, making corrections and a few changes. The subtitle “In tempore belli” originally referred to the Vietnam War.  The US has been involved in war almost continuously since World War II. Will the world ever have peace?

This string quartet is dark, demanding and ominous sounding. Many different string  techniques are used, such as the usual pizzicato and glissando, but also more 20th century techniques like col legno, col legno battuto, and sul ponticello. The musical language is atonal, though not serial. The intervals of a tritone and minor ninth, as well as major seventh, and certain sets, like A Bb E Eb , first heard in the viola, dominate the landscape.

While this is intended as a single movement, there are three sections: Presto/Meno Mosso, Lento and Vigorously.  There is no pause before Lento, as the instruments glissando into a dense sonority of double stops of these pitches: D D# E F# G Ab Bb. A sight pause may occur before Vigorously, as the final sound in Lento is a pianissimo fermata sonority made up of G Bb F and F#. The passage using col legno battuto in the viola and cello might suggest distant military drums. They return in the final page, fading out until the end. A brief phrase of poetry from T.S. Eliot appears in the score at the very end, not meant to be spoken, but just as a programmatic idea: “not with a bang…”

Comments

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First Perfomance

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Recording

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Text Language - Non English

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Text Source/Author

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Ensemble Type
string quartet (alone or + inst or voc)
Genre/Theme
Music by women

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