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four landscapes

for string quartet

Year:  2008   ·  Duration:  11m

Year:  2008
Duration:  11m

Alex Taylor

Composer:   Alex Taylor

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The CANZ Nelson Composers W...

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This work for String Quartet consists of four short movements, the titles of which are taken from poems by Janet Frame: The Icicles, The Stones, Moss and The Birch Trees. Each one is a kind of natural miniature, exploring stillness and the simple beauty of quiet sounds, and underpinned by a sense of gentle unease. The Icicles is a fragile, intimate movement without development, tiny fragments of tune colouring the sparse soundscape. The Stones sets up an insistent, pulsing rhythm that hints at the sustained violence to come in Moss, a much denser, edgier beast, a breaking point before the calm. In the final movement, the action is brought back to a quiet nostalgia, recalling the delicate, frail harmonies of the opening. The work as a whole owes much to the aesthetics of John Cage’s String Quartet in Four Parts and to Janet Frame’s virtuosic portrayal of New Zealand landscape.

Contents note

  1. The Icicles
  2. The Stones
  3. Moss
  4. The Birch Trees

Performance history

01 Jul 2008: Performed by Yid-Ee Goh (vln I), Sophie Bird (vln II), Emma Fetherston (vla), Charley Davenport (vc). (Conductor Michael Norris).

01 Sep 2008: Performed by MusicSpace Quartet at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Devonport, in Auckland

20 Sep 2009: Emerging Artists

23 May 2010: DSCH String Quartet at the Depot

27 Jun 2010: RNZ Concert broadcast Alex Taylor
Featuring: Radio New Zealand Concert

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